Site plan approved for cell tower

140-foot tower to be placed off Route 67 in town

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Planning Board on Tuesday approved a site plan for a 140-foot cell tower off Route 67 in the town of Johnstown.

“You can’t really see it from 67,” said county Senior Planner Sean Geraghty.

But the board recommended developers include Norway and white spruce trees in the area of the lower tower equipment to screen it, a four or five-foot burm.

County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty said a site plan for the proposed wireless telecommunications tower project is currently going through the Johnstown Town Planning Board.

He said the Fulton County Planning Board hasn’t reviewed a new cell tower project in 10 or 12 years.

Geraghty said Evolution Site Services of Pittsfield, Mass. is proposing to construct the monopole-style tower, and install associated equipment on property leased from Frasier Enterprises LLC. He said the Route 67 tower will be “right off St. Patrick’s Cemetery, on the left.”

“This is actually being done for both coverage and capacity in that area,” Geraghty said.

The tower parcel is about 2.9 acres in size. The parcel was created on Jan. 9, 2018 as part of a subdivision application that was approved by the Johnstown Town Planning Board.

Geraghty said the telecommunications tower is actually being constructed for a Verizon Wireless antenna, but will have room or “capacity” for three additional antennas/related equipment. He said Verizon liked the town of Johnstown site.

“It’s a pretty extensive [application] package,” Geraghty said. “They looked at 17 other sites.”

He said the intent of the tower is to improve local wireless services by filling in a gap in the area, and at the same time increase local network resources for voice and data traffic.

Because of the proximity to the Fulton County Airport, Geraghty said the Federal Aviation Administration was included in the project’s state Environmental Quality Review process. But he didn’t forsee a problem with the tower.

“It only comes up to the base elevation of the airport,” Geraghty said.

Concerning landscaping, he said there exists a clump of trees half-way up a hill the project will reuse. He said the project will also put in trees.

“They planned on putting a burm up,” Geraghty said.

But any landscaping or trees is to block equipment associated with the tower, not the tower itself, he said.

“It’s all outdoor equipment now,” Geraghty said. “It’s all weatherproof equipment.”

Board member Peter Goderie, owner of Goderie’s Tree Farm in Johnstown, said he’s assisted with trees to screen cell tower projects and usually spruce is the preferred variety.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.