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New Sprint cell tower rejected

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The North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals denied Sprint the zoning variance to build the tower about 300 feet from the Lakeville Road and Union Turnpike interchange on the grounds of the Long Island Power Authority's substation, which sits in a section of the old Lockheed/Martin site.

"I am pleased that the variance was denied because it is something else we would have had to stare at," said Michael Castellano, first vice president of the Lost Community Civic Association and environmental consultant to Community Board 13, which the Queens side of the Nassau border from Glen Oaks to Rosedale.

"Sprint claimed that there was no service in the area, but I happen to be a Sprint customer," he said. "I walk out of my house and turn on my phone and I have service."

The variance was denied by a unanimous vote, said zoning board secretary Gene Martonik. He said construction in the area is limited to 40 feet.

"They have not made a new application for a smaller tower," he said. "They have the right to appeal to the State Supreme Court or put in another application. Sprint has 30 days to file an appeal."

In Nassau County, similar to the rest of New York state outside of New York City, the local zoning board's decision is final, short of court appeals.

Castellano said Queens representatives joined Nassau County residents to plead their case to the North Hempstead zoning board on Oct. 11 and the board handed down a decision on Nov. 29.

He said he spoke to the community board members, who agreed that if the community was against the cellular tower, the board would come out against its construction.

Castellano said his civic association do not want a radio tower in a residential area. He said Sprint never came into Queens to discuss the effect the tower would have on the residents of northeast Queens.

Even though the tower was to be located just over the county line, it would have been visible to Queens residents, he said.

"This is not the only issue we are working on together," Castellano said, referring to the old Lockheed/Martin site also located on the Queens Nassau border. "What happens 'just across the street' could have a tremendous impact on our community and we intend to work together with our neighbors in Nassau County."

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