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CB 11 fights plan to build cell tower

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The board voted 31-8, rejecting Omnipoint's request to build the tower at 64-35 223rd Place.Steven Newman, chairman of CB 11, said some community members feared the structure would change the character of their neighborhood. Other members, Newman said, preferred that the structure be placed in two alternative locations in the community, both of which were areas that the landlord did not want to lease, Newman said.Omnipoint decided to propose building the tower at the 223rd Place site after receiving a complaint about poor cell phone service in the area, said David Snyder, an attorney who represented Omnipoint at the meeting. The company surveyed the area and determined this location to be the best to close the gap in service, Snyder said.The tower proposal met harsh opposition from community members in the audience. Bayside civic leader Frank Skala questioned whether Omnipoint would ever increase the tower's radiation output from current levels, but he was not given an answer.Janet McEneaney, a CB 11 member, also voiced her opposition to the tower. McEneaney is involved in a fight against a cell phone tower, which currently stands near 35th Avenue in Bayside.Newman said he was one of the minority who supported the tower."It is obviously needed for presentday cell phone and telecommunications usage," he said. "I personally thought [Omnipoint] did a reasonably good job of making something as inconspicuous as you can," Newman said, referring to Omnipoint's plan to keep the tower's wires internal and mask the tower as a light pole.The final issue on the tower will be made by the Board of Standards & Appeals. The community board's decision only serves as an advisory, Newman said.In other CB 11 matters, two issues were withdrawn from the night's agenda. A proposal to rename a corner of Union Turnpike and Bell Boulevard for Dr. Gerard Misher, a dentist, was removed after City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who made the original proposal, asked the item to be withdrawn, Newman said. Weprin withdrew the proposal after facing opposition from the Hollis Hills Civic Association, Newman said.Also, a proposal to rename Crocheron Park Ballfield #5 after longtime DePhillips Athletic Club coach Harold Marks was tabled, Newman said, citing a new CB 11 policy under which a person must be dead for at least a year before anything can be named in his or her honor. Marks died in January.U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) also attended the event and took a few questions from the audience, one of which touched on his vote for the Iraq War."If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have voted for it," he said.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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