New Paltz Town Planning Board members learned at their November 25 meeting that they will have some say over plans to site a cellular tower on Jansen Road, but that federal law prevents them from dragging their feet on making a decision. An application to erect a tower at 60 Jansen Road on behalf of Homeland Towers has not yet been submitted, as that would trigger a hard deadline of 150 days to complete all aspects of the approval process, which includes any variances applied for at the Zoning Board of Appeals. Board attorney Richard Golden strongly recommended using a wireless consultant to advise them on the process.
Once submitted, this application will require a use variance, for which a difficult hardship barrier must be met; the hardship in this case would be the gap in service which the antenna would address. Planning Board members will have oversight on the visual impact of the tower, and consultants are pushing for a balloon test to help identify from where in town it might be seen. This tower will be small enough not to require a light atop it.
Board member Amy Cohen pressed for more information about cancer concerns related to cellular towers. She was directed to the American Cancer Society and advised that a wireless consultant would be able to advise on the levels of radiation emitted.
If a tower is constructed, as board member Lyle Nolan noted, additional antennae may be mounted upon it, but he was advised that each change would again be subject to some level of local review.