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Cell Tower Situation Still Not Resolved

The Village of Roslyn Harbor board of trustees has approved a new budget for 2013-2014. Now village officials would like to resolve another pressing issue facing Roslyn Harbor: A significant reduction in size of the AT&T cell tower, located on Beech Road.


As noted in a recent issue of The Roslyn News, the village, due to the 1996 Federal Communications Act, can’t do anything about the “microwave” tower’s existence, but it can reduce the size.


Mayor David Mandell remains optimistic that the situation can be resolved, even though progress is slow. The village is hoping that a meeting with AT&T officials will get executives with that bemouth corporation on board with village desires. Before the village writes a new law on cell tower construction, it wants the cell tower reduced. 


The microwave tower, Mayor Mandell has noted, is used for older technology, much of it obsolete. Such structures were built in the pre-cell tower era. Today, the tower, he added, is used strictly for cellular purposes. However, the tower, as the mayor maintains, is “100 feet taller than it needs to be.” The structure currently stands at approximately 290 ft. “It’s an eyesore,” he told The Roslyn News in February. “We want to reduce the size of the tower.” 


Ever since the 1996 Telecommunications Act was signed into law, villages in Nassau County have had to contend with the construction of cell towers within their borders, even if lawmakers and residents alike express grave concerns about them. That piece of legislation, which was the first overhaul of the nation’s communications law since 1934, allowed for large-scale deregulation of the communications industry.


A key provision prevents local jurisdictions from prohibiting the actual placement of such towers. What it does allow for is local ordinances to regulate their placement. Towns and villages, for instance can prohibit towers in residential areas. They can also limit the height of such towers, require security fencing around them and also require a setback distance from adjacent property lines. In towns and villages throughout Nassau County, much of the opposition to cell towers in recent years has been based on health concerns. There is also the matter of placing such towers near public and private schools, the possible negative impact on real estate values and aesthetic concerns.


The latter issue is now moving officials in the village to take action.