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Cell Tower Remains Front And Center At Board Meeting

Manorhaven Deputy Mayor John DiLeo Appointed Mayor

The first order of business for the Manorhaven village trustees during the April 26 meeting was to appoint Deputy Mayor John DiLeo as mayor of Manorhaven to fill the remainder of Michael Meehan’s term, which expires July 2. Meehan resigned his position March 17 citing family and business obligations as the reasons. DiLeo has been the acting mayor since. In a three-page press release devoted to DiLeo’s qualifications for the job it was also noted that he intends to “seek election to a full term in the annual village election on June 19.”

Residents of the village waited patiently for the public comments portion of the meeting, when they once again took up the issue of the cell tower on Pequot Avenue in Manhasset Isle.

Giovanna Giunta, a leader of the residents opposing the tower, read aloud a letter sent to Attorney Steven Leventhal who is representing the village in this matter. The letter was sent on April 25 and lays out an argument for the village to issue a Stop Work Order to AG Towers based upon the wall around the monopole being constructed in the wrong place. The letter states “Village officials are well aware the walls are encroaching into the side yard alongside the Militana’s property, anywhere from 2 feet to 8 inches, in clear violation of the zoning and the variance issued by the village.” The letter also contends that this issue was brought up weeks ago to David Mamina, superintendent of buildings for the Village of Manorhaven, but “we have been getting resistance from the village in pursuing this issue and so it appears that the village has aligned itself with AG Towers to the detriment and over the objections of the residents instead of ensuring that the village code and permits are intact.”

What remained unclear in all the comments during Thursday’s meeting is how the original approval for a five-year lease became a 50-year term in the final version of the lease. Barbara Mallon, a resident, spoke to this issue. Mallon says she has studied the lease carefully and suggested that the original term of the lease was five years with options for renewal. She believes the village has grounds to terminate the lease at the end of the five-year term if AG Towers is not a “good neighbor” which many contend they have not been. She also faulted the trustees for not requiring AG Towers to move the tower into compliance with the original site plan. Many believe if the village had taken this approach when the Stop Work Order was lifted by the federal judge, AG would have stopped the project of their own volition because it was impossible to put the tower in the right place without the possibility of damaging the main village sewer line which could have proved very costly for AG Towers. Others say the possible consequence of the village living without a functioning sewer system for months in the event there was damage to the sewer line or pump station is “a chance we can’t take.”

AG Towers and their attorneys do not return phone calls or respond to correspondence.