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Tower may land town in court

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Updated: 8:45 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

RAQUETTE LAKE -- The Long Lake Town Board has authorized Supervisor Clark Seaman and Attorney to the Town Carl T. Ferrentino to negotiate with John Adams and his attorney regarding access to property on Mt. Sabattis.

The town has a communications tower on property owned by Tim and Beate Touchette, but must cross Adams' land to reach it. Seaman and Ferrentino were authorized July 30 to seek a court-ordered settlement if an agreement is not reached with Adams.

The only current tower user is North Country Public Radio.

For more years than anyone can remember, access to the tower, which was built in 1978 or '79, and repairs to the power cable that crosses Adams' property were allowed by handshake agreements with the previous owners.

Adams says he bought his land on Mt. Sabattis in 2000 and approached then-Town Supervisor Christine Snide in 2002 regarding the electric cable that supplies power to the tower.

"The cable does not comply with the National Electrical Code and is a hazard," Adams says. "The cable also lies on top of the ground. Every year, since 2002, I have approached the town on this issue, yet the condition still exists."

Frustrated, he decided to seek something more substantial than a handshake before allowing repairs.

HE MAY BE RIGHT

Seaman says Adams is probably right about the cable not being properly installed.

"The cable supplying power to the tower has been in place for approximately 20 years," he says. "It is steel armored cable with PVC coating. According to the manufacturer's spec sheet, it can be installed indoors or out, in wet or dry conditions.

"However, it is my understanding that code does require the cable be buried or in conduit and the cable was just run across the ground when it was installed."

$1,000 A YEAR

Adams' attorney drafted a contract, which Seaman presented to the town board in November 2013. It would grant the town access to maintain and repair the tower and cable for 10 years, charging $1,000 a year but requiring the total 10-year cost of $10,000 to be paid up front.

Seaman and the councilmen feel Adams wants too much, and if they were to agree it would violate their fiduciary responsibility to residents and taxpayers.

"If the town thinks what I am asking is too much money, then maybe they should charge rent for space on the tower and stop making the taxpayers absorb the expense," Adams says.

The 15- by 135-foot right-of-way was recently appraised at $650.

The Long Lake Town Board's next regularly scheduled meeting will be Wednesday, Aug. 27, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Editor Cristine Meixner contributed to this article.

     

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