Town gets offer on tower contract extension

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – American Tower Corp. wants to keep its cell tower on town property through the year 2071 – and they’re willing to pay the town more rent to do so.

Town Chairman Jim Lubach told the Town Board at their meeting Tuesday that officials from ATC have contacted the town proposing a 20-year extension on the lease for the tower, located on the former town dump property.

“What they’re trying to do is to open up (the current lease) and get us to sign a new agreement,” Lubach reported.

The company currently pays $160 for the land where the tower is located. That amount was scheduled to go up to $1,600 a month in 2016.

The agreement currently runs through 2051, but according to Lubach, ATC is willing to increase the monthly payment to $1,600 immediately if the town will agree to a 20-year extension.

In addition, ATC would agree to a 10 percent rent increase every five years plus an additional 20 percent increase in 2021.

“We don’t have a rent escalation or rent increase in the old contract,” other than the scheduled increase to $1,600 in 2016, Lubach continued.

As for the extension, he noted, “For a tower company, 20 years isn’t much.”

Town Attorney Jim Hughes recalled that he had prepared a summary of the tower agreement several years ago for the board and said he would forward a copy of that information to the supervisors before their next meeting.

The board agreed to table the request for a month, as Lubach noted that ATC officials had not given a timetable for the extension agreement in their letter.

The town splits the rental payments with the village of Glenbeulah, which is a partial owner of the property. Hughes said that village officials would have to agree to any changes in the lease as they were signed the original agreement.

Ten years after the city did it, the town officially vacated its portion of Country Aire Road between County C and State 23.

The extension of Country Aire was never built and in 2004, as part of the reconstruction of the State 23/County C interchange, the city vacated its portion of the roadway.

That land was adjacent to Woodlawn Cemetery and was added to the cemetery, attorney Crystal Fieber told the board.

Fieber was at the meeting representing landowner David Steffes, who owns the land on County C adjacent to the vacated road.

The town’s portion of the proposed road will go to Steffes.

The board discussed possible paving of Jennifer Lane, a private road running north off County J just south of Rocky Knoll.

Lubach asked if the town wanted to accept the road as a town road as is, then have it paved by the county.

He explained that, under a change in state law, the county Highway Department can no longer pave private roads. “It has to be our road before they can pave it,” Lubach said.

Hughes noted that it is the responsibility of the developer to pay for paving the road.

Lubach replied that the developer is aware of that and is willing to provide the money for the paving.

“You might want to have the money in hand before you accept it and do the work,” Hughes advised.

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