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Contractual issue snarls antenna permit at CB 13

Community Board 13 granted a request Monday by North Shore Towers to delay a vote on whether to extend permits for communications antennas on the roofs of the co-op pending an investigation into potential health effects from the devices.

Herb Cooper, the board president of North Shore Towers, said the co-op is concerned about the some 250 antennas on the roofs of its three buildings.

Eric Palatnik, an attorney who spoke on behalf of Continental Communications — the company that leases the rooftop property from North Shore Towers — said the Floral Park co-op gave its approval for the extension by signing the application.

He said the antennas, the first of which were installed in 1988, are primarily used by the federal government, emergency responders and the police, although they are also used by private companies such as satellite television providers.

But Errol Brett, North Shore Towers' attorney, said the co-op was not in favor of the antennas.

Palatnik "has given the impression that North Shore Towers endorses this application," Brett said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

But Palatnik whipped out a sworn affidavit from North Shore Towers General Manager Glen Kotowski that he said authorizes him to make the antenna application and represent the co-op on this matter. Brett countered by saying that wording in the affidavit that said the statements of fact were true was crossed out by North Shore Towers.

He said the co-op entered into an agreement more than 20 years ago with Continental Communications that requires North Shore Towers to sign the application.

"Contractually, we had to sign the application, which we were not endorsing," he said.

Palatnik said there was a city Board of Standards and Appeals hearing scheduled for Tuesday, but Brett said that announcement was news to the co-op.

"We found out just now listening to him that there's a hearing," Brett said.

Palatnik agreed that North Shore Towers was not informed of the hearing, but said that Continental Communications was not "legally required" to give notice.

Herb Cooper, North Shore Towers' board president, urged CB 13 to hold its recommendation for the permit pending a report from a communications engineer that the co-op is in the process of hiring.

He said there was an unannounced Federal Communications Commission visit to the towers in March.

An inspector said he did not find any excessive radiation, according to Cooper, but the inspector also said he was not able to measure radiation because he did not have the necessary equipment and was only there to look at signage, warning people to stay away from the rooftops.

CB 13 unanimously voted to table its vote.

Richard Hellenbrecht, the CB 13 chairman, said the Tuesday BSA hearing was deferred to Aug. 19.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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