Manlius Town Board: Clearwire seeks special permit, public hearing to continue

Clearwire, a wireless, broadband internet company, is beginning to build its network in Syracuse. But in order to provide coverage in a particular Manlius location, it's asking the Manlius Town Board for a special permit to use an existing 40-foot wooden National Grid utility pole in a public right of way on Duguid Road.

"You wouldn't see multiple carriers on this pole," said Jeff Davis of Hiscock and Barclay, who represents Clearwire. "It's not really a cell tower. It's a wooden utility pole that you would use to get electricity. There is currently a transformer on the pole and various other items."

The proposal, which was presented during an Oct. 10 public hearing at the regular board meeting, includes extending the 40-foot pole another 20 feet with flush-mounted antennae at the top -- the 60-foot antenna height is necessary to achieve the highspeed coverage. A small cable would run down the pole to the company's equipment cabinet at the base; nothing would touch the ground.

Clearwire is approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to co-locate on a series of cell towers within the town of Manlius, but because there are no towers in this location, the utility pole would serve the purpose of providing coverage.

"This is an area where they are trying to get coverage without having to introduce a new cell tower," Davis said.

The nearest house is 153 feet away from the pole, Davis said, noting that the pole stands far enough away that it would not hit somebody's home if it were to fall over.

Mignon Holz, who lives at 5179 Duguid Road, is strongly opposed to the project.

"Why do you want to put it right in front of our homes?" Holz asked, suggesting the company reconsider the location and look farther north toward Salt Springs Road. "It's even higher up there," she said, referring to the ground level, which might minimize a 20-foot height increase to she objects.

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