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Residents Still Up in Arms with Verizon, Garden City

Say Noise and Smell Are Still Issues

Select 13th Avenue residents attended last week’s board of trustee’s meeting to explain their continuing discontent with the noise emanating from the Verizon Wireless Plant in Garden City that has been plaguing them since December. Various residents called for Mineola to join them in their possible lawsuit against the Village of Garden City and Verizon.

Mayor Jack Martins was not present at last week’s public meeting but has stated at past meetings that negotiations and talks were going smoothly until the residents filed a claim against said parties. Martins was contacted by a legal representative of unnamed residents on June 15 stating that they’d like to be kept abreast on the situation regarding Verizon, the Village of Garden City and the noise issues that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

Martins said at a previous meeting that he explained to the person that it’s, “certainly in the prerogative of residents in the village to retain an attorney if they choose to do so.”

Deputy Mayor Larry Werther reiterated Martins’ previous statements at last weeks meeting that negotiations have hit a snag now that the residents have retained legal council. “Garden City went from being cooperative to being defensive because they were filed with a notice that they might be sued,” he said.

One resident said he thinks reports are being kept from the public. Mr. Werther stated that, “as far as reports that this village has received from anyone we hired, those are all available to you.”

Werther was referring to Lally Acoustical Consulting, a firm the village hired to work in conjunction with Garden City’s consultants to come up with an idea on how to address the issue. Lally was hired in June by the village.

Lally Acoustical provided acoustical consulting services ranging from field-testing to acoustic and vibration review of architectural, structural, and mechanical designs. Lally specializes in environmental noise as well. Verizon and Garden City retained consultants in July.

“As far as joining in a lawsuit on this, that’s something I’d have to think about for a while as I’m sure every member of this board would,” Werther stated. “It’s not a commitment that we would take lightly just after this meeting tonight.”

Sound tests were taken at the beginning of August. Whether or not more tests will be taken is unknown at this time.

Village Attorney John Spellman read a letter from Mayor Martins to Mayor Robert Rothschild concerning the Verizon Facility. It is unknown when the letter was sent out.

The letter highlights the past events concerning the noise issue. According to the letter, “residential neighbors to the facility have expressed concern to the village of Mineola and the village of Garden City, that significant noise emanating from 60 Herricks Road was causing a disturbance in their homes and destroying the quality of suburban life they sought to enjoy.”

After dialogue took place between Mineola and Garden City, each village retained consultants to review the noise issues. The letter stated further that Verizon and Garden City retained consultants to deal with the issue and that, “tests were conducted at the Verizon facility on July 15. All three consulting firms participated in the testing.”

All three firms took similar readings during the day. As a result of the testing, there was clear evidence that, “the Verizon facility has been operating and continues to operate in violation of Garden City’s code,” the letter states.

Section 152-10 of the Garden City code prohibits any activity in any business or commercial premises in Garden City, which emits sounds or noise outside the premises before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and before 9 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. According to the letter, testing demonstrated that the facility is violating the code in that section.

Section 200-32 prohibits any use of land in any zoning district, the operation of which would, “normally cause or result in dissemination of any noise beyond the boundaries of the parcel of land of which such use is located.”

The letter goes on to say that Martins is asking Garden City to enforce the provisions of the villages code and to eliminate the violations that are current at the Verizon site. Furthermore, the letter states that Martins is sending a copy of the Lally report to Mayor Rothschild and requested that he send the village of Mineola a copy of Garden City’s consultant report.

“I would hope that in light of the fact that there are residents in the immediate vicinity, that Garden City would take those reports and require that Verizon do one of two things; either close down the facility or follow the law,” Martins said when reached for comment.

Martins said he’d give the Village of Garden City the opportunity to respond and follow up within the next week. He stated further that the issue of a lawsuit by 13th Avenue residents has complicated the discussion.

“I thought we were almost there,” he said. “But we’re not going to stop trying to resolve the situation.”