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Adirondack cell coverage expanding

RAY BROOK - As the year comes to a close, the effects of new cell towers is becoming more widely felt, but not seen.

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA), working in partnership with the telecommunication companies, approved 17 cellular projects in 2008. Many of these will serve the Northway corridor without sticking out in the Adirondack scenery.

Since 1973, the Agency has issued 67 new cellular carrier permits authorizing 73 activities. The Agency did not deny any telecommunication projects in 2008 or since its inception.

In 2008, the Agency issued six permits for new towers, nine general permits for co-location on existing structures and two permit amendments to replace or co-locate antennas.

The Agency's Towers Policy, revised in August of 2000, discourages mountaintop towers and promotes the co-location of facilities on existing structures. The policy is intended to protect the Adirondack Park's aesthetic and open space resources by requiring telecommunication tower sites to be "substantial invisible."

"The Park Agency would like to commend the cellular companies for their efforts to conscientiously select project sites that adhere to the Agency's Towers Policy," stated APA Chairman Curtis F. Stiles. "The success we are experiencing proves it's possible to implement cellular technology without adversely impacting the unique scenic appeal of the Adirondacks, which is fundamentally critical in sustaining many sectors of our economy."

Verizon Wireless' exit 29 tower located within one mile of the Northway in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County, is an excellent example of achieving substantial invisibility. The project includes the construction of an 84-foot telecommunications tower with a 12-panel antenna array (four 8-foot panels on each of three sides of the array) and a 10-foot high lightning rod attached to the top of the tower. The overall height of the approved tower is 94 feet. This tower provides coverage in a north and south direction from exit 29 along the corridor.

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