Cell tower plans OKd by board

Published 6:27 am Friday, November 18, 2011

A new cell tower and revisions to subdivision regulations were key items on the agendas of the Troy planning and zoning commissions Thursday.

The planning commission approved a variance request on behalf of Verizon Wireless to construct a new, 295-foot cell tower on the Dozier property behind the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

“Verizon is proposing to build a 295-foot cell support tower,” said Andrew Rotenstreich of Haskell Slaughter Young and Rediker LLC. “There’s already a 400-foot tower there, which is being leased by AT&T.”

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Rotenstreich said Verizon studied the possibility of locating its equipment on the existing tower, “but when we did a structural analysis the structure failed in our model because it already has so much equipment on it.”

The new tower would be located behind the existing tower and would be a lattice design. He said the tower would be able to accommodate other carriers’ equipment in the future.

Commission members and two residents in the audience questioned the radio waves and emissions that would come from the tower and any possible health concerns that would create.

“There’s a school nearby (Pike Liberal Arts) and the children are there,” said Virginia Sanders. “I’m concerned about it.”

Rotenstriech reassured the commission and the audience that radio waves emitted from the tower would be less than 1 watt – “about one-tenth of what is emitted by a microwave” – and that the emissions would be strictly regulated by the FCC.

The planning commission unanimously approved the variance request.

Earlier that afternoon, the zoning commission approved a request by Buck Watkins to rezone a 15,963 parcel of land at 404 S. Brundidge Street. Watkins said plans have already been approved for the land to become an expansion of Trojan Crossing, although no definite timeline for construction is planned.

The zoning commission also had the first reading of amendments to the subdivision regulations.

“We already have a lot of these details in place, but they’re just not as detailed as in these proposed regulations,” said Melissa Sanders, who oversees zoning for the City of Troy. “The regulations are designed to help the planning commission have information readily available to make informed decisions, so they insure the safety and welfare of the residents who will be living in these subdivisions.”

The regulations specify information required on planning documents. The changes will be reviewed for approval at the Dec. 15 meeting.