New antenna tower irks Munsey Park residents

A new tower erected by the Manhasset-Lakeville Water

A new tower erected by the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District is pictured behind Jennifer Lippmann's Munsey Park home. (Oct.16, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Residents in Munsey Park are steamed over a 190-foot antenna tower erected over the weekend by a water district.

The tower, on land owned by the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District, is part of a project to improve radio communications for water, fire and town officials and emergency personnel.

But residents living around the new tower, which sits on land bordering Munsey Park and Flower Hill, say the structure is unsightly and would pose a threat to neighboring homes if it toppled during a storm.

About a dozen residents turned up at Tuesday night's water district meeting to protest the tower and what they said was a lack of communication about the district's plans.

Commissioner Andrew DeMartin said the $314,000 tower was necessary to fill gaps in essential radio communications caused by the topography in the area. "We have lapses in coverage," he said. "This definitely becomes a fix."

But he offered an apology about how the district communicated its plans. "We agree -- there probably should have been better communication," he said.

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Christopher Prior, the district's attorney, said that the district told Munsey Park and Flower Hill about the project in April.

But at the meeting, Deputy Mayor Sean Haggerty said that the district needed to have talked directly with its constituents, not the villages.

"Don't pass the buck to the village," Haggerty said. "You have to tell the residents."

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John Lippmann, whose Munsey Park home abuts the water-district property, argued that the district could have worked harder to find alternatives to a tall tower in a residential area.

"You're not willing to consider the value of our homes or the safety of our families," Lippmann said. "I can't keep my family in my house anytime there's a storm because of this. If it falls, it's going to kill somebody."

At the meeting, commissioners agreed to halt further work on the tower and schedule another meeting to consider what to do next. "We're going to consider every option," DeMartin said. "We can't make a decision tonight to take it down."

After the meeting, residents spilled out into the hall, many still angry. "It makes the neighborhood look like Hempstead Turnpike," said Rosanne Harvey, who lives next to the water district's property. "I think we're going to see them in court. They brought the whole thing on themselves."

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