A public hearing on the proposal by Wireless Edge to build a cell tower at 630 South Mountain Road in Gardiner was held open after the Gardiner Planning Board’s December 21 meeting, to be continued on Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. The board hopes to conduct a State Environmental Quality Review for the project at that meeting, but must first receive confirmation from the Ulster County Planning Board (UCPB) that the application is complete. “We made the referral [to UCPB] prematurely; we didn’t have all the evaluations,” explained Planning Board chair Paul Colucci.
The evaluations in question included full analysis by Wireless Edge of the results of its visual impact study. A balloon test was conducted on November 13 at the proposed site, which is a Town-owned property currently used by the Gardiner Highway Department to store road maintenance vehicles. Photo simulations of potential visual impacts indicated that the top of a 110-foot tower there would be visible year-round from six of the 18 vantagepoints from which photos were taken, including two on the Bruynswick Winery property.
Colucci also questioned Wireless Edge representative Robert Gaudioso about some potential construction issues raised by highway superintendent Brian Stiscia: the proximity of the tower site to existing structures on the property, and the fact that the foundation for the tower was planned to be built near an area that had been filled with organic matter. “Typically, we would take soil samples and design the foundation based on that,” Gaudioso reassured the board chair. With regard to height, he said, “The fall zone has to be one-and-a-half times the height of the tower. The distance is more than 200 feet to the closest building.”
The Planning Board voted to re-refer the site plan application to UCPB with the missing information, and to hold the public hearing open until the January meeting.