More than two months before local residents were up in arms over a cellular phone tower in Marine Park, Community Board 18 was contacted about its controversial arrival. But there was little, if anything the board could have done to stop the towers construction, according to its district manager, Dorothy Turano. We really have no recourse whatsoever, Turano said. In an Oct. 5 letter to the board, an environmental consulting firm briefly details the project, a required step in conforming to federal law. The site consists of an existing two-story building located at 3524 Avenue S [and] is proposed to be developed with communications antennae to be mounted to a proposed 18-foot-high monopole to be situated on the roof of the building, the letter reads. Local residents like Bob Solowitz learned of the towers arrival on or around Dec. 17, when work began on the buildings rooftop. This is just another failure of a section of government, said Solowitz. Government fails to be proactive for the people who they represent, and in effect, goes along with things, he continued. Asked his reaction when he learned the board knew of the towers arrival, he said, I cant give you a four letter word, can I? Turano said she sent out notification to local civic groups about the letter the board received. We send copies of whatever we get to community leaders, she said. Turano continued, Dont you think we would fight it if we could? We do tryjust not in a hysterical way. The National Environmental Policy Act requires T-Mobile, the communications giant behind the cell tower, to conduct a survey to weigh the potential impact of the tower to historical and archaeological resources within the vicinity of the site. Turano said she sent out notification to the consulting firm that the tower should not be located at that site, as it is approximately 200 feet away from the historic Lott House. Russ Stromberg, T-Mobiles senior manager of development, said its consultant never received any letter from the community board. We received no feedback, he said. T-Mobiles consultant, Westchester-based G.C. Environmental, dispatched the letter. All cellular phone carriers are required to provide notification regarding their cell sites. Some do some in local newspapers, and others notify community boards. In New Springville in Staten Island, T-Mobile last summer withdrew an application to erect a tower following stiff opposition from the community and elected officials. The tower was relocated across the street from the original site. Asked what recourse Marine Park residents might have, Stromberg said: If the community supports a site that meets our engineering needs and the landlord is amenable .then we will absolutely consider it. But, he continued, in an urban environment like New York City, moving just two blocks can have a dramatic impact from an engineering perspective. The Staten Island case might be unique, he said. We were fortunate in that case to find a readily alternative in the immediate proximity. Stromberg has told this newspaper that the tower is well suited for Marine Park and that residents will eventual get used to its presence. T-Mobile maintains that the tower is safe, but local residents are still not convinced that their health wont be jeopardized by the towers presence. Despite rumors that the buildings landlord was looking to break the already-signed contract to host the cell tower, Stromberg said that all parties involved are fully supportive of the arrangement.
©2006 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.