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Bye, Bye Marine Pk Monstrosity?

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A cellular phone tower continues to generate fear and loathing in Marine Park. But the aesthetically challenged steel tower, which stands on a rooftop at 3524 Avenue S, a two-story building in a residential neighborhood, might not be causing controversy for long. State Senator Martin Golden is in conversation with the building’s landlord, who is now seeing if there is an escape clause in the contract he has already signed with T-Mobile, according to John Quaglione, Golden’s spokesperson. “If there is a way out, it will happen,” Quaglione said. Rep. Anthony Weiner is also seeking to intervene on behalf of local residents, who have roundly criticized the T-Mobile tower. The landlord, Hwang Woo Park, was unreachable for comment at press time. Quaglione said Park “didn’t realize” the tower would be such a concern for those who live nearby. By listening to the community, and trying to find a way out, Park is being a “very good neighbor,” Quaglione said. The problem is that there are no long-term, conclusive health studies that would convince residents that the tower is safe, Quaglione noted. “When you have the possibility of damage…you’re going to have a tough battle,” he added. Greg Borruso, the president of the Marine Park Civic Association, said a T-Mobile representative has contacted him, and is hoping to arrange a meeting to discuss the tower. Borruso’s hardware store is just a block from the tower, which he said now predominates the Marine Park landscape. “The guy told me that it was proven that [cell towers] don’t cause birth defects,” Borruso said. “But years ago, the cigarette companies said [their product] was okay for you.” Borruso said he will insist that any meeting includes local elected officials and community members. “We’re not going to him…he’s coming to us,” Borruso said. An “informal boycott” has already commenced of the ground-floor dry cleaning business Park rents to, according to Bob Solowitz, a longtime resident of East 36th Street, which stands behind the tower. With the many children who live on his block, Solowitz said, along with a nearby synagogue and day care center, Solowitz said it is just too risky to let the tower stand. Margaret Chiodo, also a 36th Street resident, said about 100 residents have already signed petitions opposing the tower’s presence. Aside from the potential health hazards, she said, many are upset with the tower’s industrial look. “There are a lot of houses that wake up and stare directly at it. They’re not happy it’s their new view,” she said. Work began on the tower on Dec. 17, but was halted after residents complained to the city’s Department of Buildings because of unsafe conditions. The agency issued two violations and work may not proceed until the conditions are corrected, DOB spokesperson Jennifer Givner said. So far, several reports have failed to find a link between the towers and poor health. An August 1999 Federal Communications Commission bulletin minimizes the health risks associated with the towers’ radiofrequency emissions. The report states that it is unlikely that a person would be exposed to radiofrequency emissions that would exceed acceptable guidelines, as to do so, a person would have to be within a few feet of the main transmitting beam for an extended period of time.

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