Today’s news:

CB 11 approves cell towers

Community Board 11 voted this week to allow the placement of more cellular equipment on the roof of Little Neck’s Valerie Arms co−op building that will exceed city zoning requirements.

The roof of the building, at 54−44 Little Neck Pkwy. in Little Neck, already has cellular equipment from Verizon, Sprint, T−Mobile, AT&T and Nextel. But the addition of new antennas from Dallas−based cellular provider MetroPCS would cause the amount of communication equipment on the building’s roof to exceed the city zoning limit of 400 square feet.

During its monthly meeting Monday, the board voted 27−15 in favor of granting a special permit for the antennas, but the proposal must go before the city Board of Standards & Appeals for final approval.

Charles Whelan, architect for the proposal, said MetroPCS would not seek a variance for the amount of frequency transmitted from the antennas.

“The installation is of minimal visual impact,” he said.

The equipment would also meet all Federal Communications Commission requirements, he said.

“We’ve had no people from the community to voice any concern about this,” said Allan Palzer, chairman of the board’s Little Neck Zoning Committee. “This is a reasonable request.”

MetroPCS, a cellular phone service provider that operates in California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, proposed the installation of seven antennas and equipment on the rooftop platform.

But not all board members approved of the plan.

“It took more than half a century to find that cigarettes and asbestos could kill you,” said Frank Skala, who is also president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association. “You’ll be the sixth company on the building. How can we expect that there won’t be 25 more? I think this is dangerous.”

The Valerie Arms building is a co−op with 252 apartments.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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