[Return to Home Page] [Subscriptions] [Newsstands] [Contact Us] [Archives]

New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 15, 2005

New Tower planned

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — A second tower application has come before the town since New Scotland’s wireless telecommunications law went into effect at the end of last year.

Dominion Transmission, a gas company, wants to replace its existing 86-foot tower and one-story equipment building at the end of Tower Lane with a new, much higher 195-foot lattice type tower, and a new one-story equipment shelter.

Planning board attorney Louis Neri said that the telecommunications ordinance, which regulates the placement of wireless towers and facilities, encompasses not just towers for cell-phone service, but the transmission of radio, satellite and microwaves.

URS Corporation submitted the special-use application on behalf of Dominion Transmission, Inc. Applicant representatives Eriko Fugita and Greg Warren said that the company controls the movement of oil through the area and that the tower is needed to transmit two-way radio signals and computer data, to coordinate and send messages about the oil.

While Warren and Fugita came before the planning board last week to make a presentation, they were told to see the zoning board at the end of the month to make their initial presentation as the law dictates.

Town officials are not yet completely versed in the tower-application process and law as this is only the second proposal to come before the town since the law was adopted.

In the spring, Cingular wireless proposed a new cell tower for Woods Hill Road, next to the existing Sprint tower, but has not returned since.

Other business

In other news, the planning board:

— Learned that James Jeffers wants to open up a new restaurant at the former Auberge Suisse site at 1903 New Scotland Road within the commercial district on Route 85. He plans to renovate the former banquet room into a bar.

Planning board Chairman Robert Stapf said he remembers when the place, was the Heavenly Inn.

Planning board member Cynthia Elliott said the building used to be a convent.

The three-story building, with a modern addition on an old farmhouse, has a basement floor, ground floor, and second floor. Jeffers said he is going into this business venture as a partner with his brother. They are going to use the building as apartments and a restaurant first with future plans to eventually rent out offices on the top floor.

Elliott said she thought it was a good plan because the parking lot would be used by the office workers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then the restaurant can use the parking spaces in the evening.

The site already has public water and is within the proposed Heldervale sewer extension number 4.

— Advised Norman Donaldson how to make his case stronger when he returns to the zoning board. He is appealing the building inspector’s denial of the use of his mechanic’s repair shop at 1998 Delaware Turnpike in Clarksville. The planning board passed a favorable recommendation on to the zoning board after hearing from about eight old-time Clarksville residents saying that there has continually been a repair shop at this location prior to the creation of a town zoning ordinance in 1961.

Donaldson has run his business since 1982. Stanley Shufelt had been a previous owner and the Mosiers.

Planning board member Robert Smith said that it would be useful for Donaldson to get these firsthand witness accounts written down as affidavits so he can have them on file.

One by one, men spoke on the record about how they had ridden their bikes and played as young children by the garage shop. It was a trucking company back in the 1930’s. It also had one time housed school buses.

Mark McMillen, Earl McMillen, Joe Hogan, Charlie VanWie, Ray Shufelt, and Rich Bartley where among those who spoke.

— Reviewed a subdivision request from Peter Baltis. He had a previous subdivision approval in the early 1990’s, and now wants to adjust the border lines for three lots located on Baltis Drive.

He has given pieces of property to neighboring landowners, he said, so that he no longer had to pay taxes on land he is not using. He said he didn’t want the pond because of liability, and taxes.

While reviewing the plan, the board realized that there is one small piece of land that isn’t being taxed; it doesn’t have a tax number.

Neri said that pieces of land had been conveyed without subdivision approval and that it all needs to be corrected.

Zoning Administrator Paul Cantlin said that there are three separate lots right now set up as one tax parcel, and Baltis has handed over the separate pieces.

The county has to correct its tax map, Stapf said. The maps, lots, and tax numbers need to be updated, the board said, and the neighbor should never have been able to purchase the small unlabeled parcel because it never legally existed.

Neri said the town could levy afine for the code violation;

— Granted approval to Andrew and Kathleen Carl to open a dog-boarding kennel on their property at 622 New Salem Road. They are able to house a maximum of eight dogs at one time. The kennel is going to be in one half of an existing 32-by-40 foot barn; the other half houses their horses.

Only one neighbor spoke at the public hearing. He said that, as long as the dogs are inside at night, he does not have a problem with the proposal. He stated that he is the closest neighbor to the barn and said, "I’m at least 750 feet away."

The hours that the planning board stipulated for the dogs to be allowed outside is from 7a.m. till 9 p.m;

— Granted Robert Bruno a special-use permit to allow him to level off a hill on his property, moving fill, to form a flat ridge in order to build a new home upon it. This Picard Road hill is currently at an elevation of 140 feet and the plan is to grade it off to 124.

Frank Peduto, an environmental engineer, spoke on behalf of Bruno. He said that they will not be disturbing the bog to one side of the hill. Bruno plans to use all the fill, Peduto said and if there is excess fill, the planning board gave permission for it to go next door onto the property of a neighbor who has been looking for some fill.

Alex Orens of Picard was concerned about what he referred to as a swampy area near the hill.

Peduto said that it won’t be filled in and the wetland won’t be affected;

— Reviewed a site-plan application from Chester Boehlke, who wants to build two pole buildings on 24.8 acres, located at 312 New Scotland South Road within an industrial district. He wants to build two 44-by-60 foot structures, to store building materials and personal property.

Boehlke said that he is going to put metal roofs and wood siding on the buildings. Currently at this site he builds wood furniture and sells it, and he also has logged off the property, he said. He plans to put a trailer, boat and mobile home in the storage barns. The land has been cleared off for six or eight years, he said.

— Discussed Walter Gibson’s application to construct a pond on his property on Cass Hill Road. Elliott said that Gibson will need a permit from the state’s Department of Conservation for the large quantity of water he is planning to hold. Planning board member Robert Smith said the other option is that Gibson could down size his project.

The state sets a limit that 600,000 gallons of water can be held in a pond without a permit.

Stapf said that this application is different than just collecting current runoff, because Gibson is proposing to build a dam, not just dig a hole in the ground and let it fill up.

The current application is to put in a four foot earthen dam, making a 90-by-189-foot pond with a maximum depth of 15 feet. No fence is proposed because the dam is for livestock, wildlife, and emergency fire protection; and

— Gave a favorable recommendation to the zoning board to allow Mary and Maurice Mulhern to replace their front deck and entry, which is within the front-yard setback requirements at 1233 Delaware Turnpike. Elliott said the proposal was fine, because the couple are just repairing what is already there, and the town approved a similar variance a few years ago for some other houses just down the road.

[Return to Home Page]