Village Considers Rooftop Antennas

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T-Mobile is seeking a special permit from the Village of Westbury to construct a rooftop wireless telecommunications facility at 242 Maple Ave., the Maple Towers Condominium.

At a public hearing on Sept. 7, the village heard from T-Mobile representatives, who explained their proposed plan to add 12 antennas of various heights to the top of the building. The antennas would be spread on top of the building in groups of three; with four 8-foot antennas, four 4-foot antennas and four 4×6-foot antennas.

A representative from Verizon explains how the antennas would be placed.

T-Mobile has four other antenna locations in Westbury, with coverage extending from approximately half to three-quarters of a mile. Attorney David Kenny, from Snyder and Snyder, LLP, said that there was a need for coverage in this site.

“The applicant is in the business of making sure they provide almost 100 percent reliability in cell phone service,” said Kenny. “There was a capacity and service issue in this vicinity.”
T-Mobile radio frequency engineer Archie Dickson noted that adding the tower would increase the amount of network resources T-Mobile can offer customers.

“There’s a pattern of increased customer demand and we address this by planning sites somewhere in the middle that will absorb customer demand [and] provide new voice channels and data channels,” said Dickson. “We have to meet that demand. We have to provide the service effectively by way of capacity and signal strength.”

In her advisory report of the impact of adding the antennas, village planning board chairwoman Catherine Moramarco said there were no detriments.

“In analyzing the benefits, [T-Mobile’s] services…will be offered to all people requiring advanced digital wireless communication services, including local business, public safety entities and the general public,” Moramarco said. She added that rental income would be provided to Maple Towers, which would help reduce the building’s maintenance costs and in turn, make the building more affordable and marketable.

Kenny said that the antennas would not create noise, vibrations or emit any smoke. However, the antennas’ radiofrequency emissions were in excess of what the federal standards allow, by 600 percent. While Kenny said T-Mobile could mitigate that with signage, to alert workers who may be working by or near the units, Mayor Peter Cavallaro questioned if this would be sufficient, especially for residents living directly underneath the antennas. The board will hire an expert (at T-Mobile’s expense) to review if the mitigation is adequate and the other submitted information.

In May, the village had enacted an 18-month building moratorium on the Maple-Union triangle downtown for the purpose of considering rezoning; however, Cavallaro noted that the moratorium had been waived for the application submitted by T-Mobile.

Absent from the Sept. 7 meeting was trustee William Wise and trustee Steve Corte recused himself from the vote. The hearing was adjourned and tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 5.

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