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Boards reconsider cell tower renewal

AMENIA — During a special joint meeting, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals discussed the application regarding the renewal of the special-use permit and the height variance for the Nextel Cell Tower located on DeLavergne Hill in Amenia.The permit and variance were first granted 10 years ago. The renewals will extend the existing permit and variance for another 10 years.The height variance allows the tower to exceed the current zoned height limit of 70 feet.The town has hired Mark Hutchins as a consultant to review the application. Hutchins reviewed the initial application for the cell tower 10 years ago.During the application process, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals will determine whether the cell tower is still necessary for service in this area and whether the tower still meets all local, state and federal requirements for the structure and function of the tower.“It’s not a slam dunk,” said Planning Board Chairman Bill Flood. “[The applicants] still have to go through the legal process.”The town has received the renewal application from the applicant and has set the escrow and the public hearing.The public hearing will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Amenia Town Hall. During that hearing, local residents will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and have questions answered regarding the permit and variance renewals.It is possible that the renewals will be granted as early as immediately following the public hearing, but the renewals — if granted — will have to happen before the January deadline.If the renewals are not granted, the cell tower will be removed.

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