There were serious objections by residents based on a lack of necessity for added T-Mobile cell coverage, radio wave health concerns, and the fact that it would be an eyesore.
The 13-foot long, 32-inch diameter pole will be mounted on a residential building at 53-20 72nd Place. It will be nearly 43 feet at its highest point, and, according to applicant Omnipoint Communications, is necessary because there have been complaints in the area of loss of cell phone coverage.
The service gap was contested by some neighbors at a hearing at the BSA hearing on November 18, however the field test was refuted by Omnipoint.
In their decision dated December 16, the board referred to the need for wireless communications as a public utility (which might be similar to a gas, land phone or electric line.
“It (the decision by BSA) sets a very unfortunate precedent that, in the future, cell phone antennas can be located in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5.
That argument was reiterated by Diane DeSiliva, a resident of 72nd Place who lives directly across the street from where the cell tower will be built.
“The decision is outrageous,” she said. “It sets a very dangerous precedent and could allow cell companies to invade residential areas everywhere with structures that do not belong where people live.”
Assemblywoman Marge Markey, who represents the area, said that the community would continue to oppose T-Mobile and other companies that seek to put cell towers in residential neighborhoods.
“I want to warn T-Mobile and any other cellular company that seeks to use this case as a precedent: get ready for a fight,” she said in a statement issued after the BSA ruling. “We will continue to strongly oppose any other plan that seeks to place a cell tower on any residential block in my district.”