Is it worth changing the Altamont skyline forever?

The proposed cell tower in Altamont would be 124 feet tall.

To the Editor:

The date has been set for the balloon test of the proposed cell tower to be perched above Altamont. Next Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. a balloon will be raised 120 feet above the village between Agawam Lane and Berne-Altamont Road, the chosen site for the tower.

The balloon will indicate the tower height, but viewers should also envision the actual design of the tower, which will be a pole with two separate levels of long flat antennas that circle the pole near the top, such as the cell towers that currently exist to the south of Mae’s Flower Shop off the Berne-Altamont Road and the one above the hamlet of New Salem.

Further, Enterprise Consulting Services, the firm constructing the tower, was asked at the December public hearing if the tower could be camouflaged. With their comment that nobody wants a frankenpine, it should be noted that there are much better and fuller camouflage treatments now than there were when frankenpines were first introduced.

Have these been considered if, in fact, the proposed tower goes forward at this site? Perhaps this will be addressed more fully at the January planning board hearing.

There is no question that we all want the best cell service possible and an additional cell tower in the area is needed. The question is whether this is the best location within the large swath of area ECS identified as needing better coverage.

I understand that the village proposed this site because it owns the property and the tower will generate village revenue. The question is how much, since both the property owner with an access road to the site and ECS will receive a percentage, in addition to the village.

The figures were not available to the planning board at the meeting, but it would seem that this is an important consideration. The question becomes, whatever the amount is, is it worth changing the Altamont skyline forever? Or is it more important to find a site that improves cell coverage while at the same time protecting our scenic heritage? This is a question for our community to decide.

I applaud the planning board for extending the public hearing on the proposed cell tower to its Monday, Jan. 28, meeting, and asking for a publicised balloon test and a second review by an additional engineering firm. [See The Altamont Enterprise, “Public hearing to remain open on proposed cell tower in Altamont.”]

Now it is up to the public to participate more directly by taking the time to consider the balloon test on Tuesday, by taking a look from your home and from various views approaching and within the village, and by offering your comments at the Jan. 28 planning board public hearing. If the weather is bad on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the 16th and 17th are alternate dates.

Kristin Casey


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