Schenectady County

Glenville neighbors concerned about tower

Owners of property adjoining the proposed 180-foot-tall communications tower are raising concerns ab

Owners of property adjoining the proposed 180-foot-tall communications tower are raising concerns about its location and effectiveness, while officials defend the project as necessary for safety.

The Town Board on Wednesday is scheduled to vote on a project to build the microwave tower on the town’s water tank property on Church Road. This is part of a $1.5 million plan to upgrade the town’s 24-year-old police communications system, which also includes new radios in the police cruisers, new portable radios and a new dispatch center.

Ed Capovani, who is the abutter most affected by this project, said the town should have put the guide wires for the tower on the adjacent Glenville Hill Fire Department property.

However, he was told that the volunteer fire company had asked to receive 10 percent of future revenues generated by the tower.

Capovani said the communications tower will be much more visible from his property than town officials have indicated. He also questioned whether the whole project is needed, given the potential for a countywide dispatch system or a state wireless network.

“In my opinion, we’re blowing a lot of money in our town,” he said.

Fellow neighbor James Cernik said the town should have considered repair rather than replacement of its equipment. He also said that they should use more up-to-date technology.

Police Chief Michael Ranalli confirmed that the town did ask Glenville Hills fire officials if the tower could be placed on their property. He said they were not interested and did want a percentage of the potential revenues.

Ranalli said the proposal is for a basic system designed to ensure reliable communications with officers out on the road.

As for the state wireless network, Ranalli said that is not going to happen. A Jan. 15 report on the Web site Government Technology said that the state Office for Technology terminated its contract with M/A-COM, the vendor that was to build a statewide wireless public safety network, after multiple failures during the testing stages.

Ranalli said even if it were going forward, Glenville’s project would still be viable.

“They’re still going to need additional tower sites,” he said.

Ranalli added that the town cannot wait for what the state may or may not do.

In addition, Ranalli said the proposal to centralize dispatching is solely about people and not the equipment used.

Also on Wednesday, the Town Board will hold a public hearing on a proposal to change the boundary lines of Fire Protection District 4 and the Beukendaal Fire District. Currently, the line runs down the middle of some buildings in the Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park. Also, there is an area of the park referred to as “no man’s land,” which is not in any district. Under this plan, the center line of B Street would become the boundary line for both fire districts.

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