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Brookville puts hold on cellphone antennas

A second North Shore village has passed a sixth-month moratorium restricting the approval and installation of cellular phone antennas and other telecommunications equipment.

The unanimous vote Tuesday by the Brookville Village board will delay consideration of an application by a Texas-based wireless company to install equipment on local utility poles.

Mayor Caroline Bazzini said that village needs time to update its 13-year-old law governing cellular equipment.

"We're open to doing what's needed," she said. "But we have to do it under the auspices of having an ordinance in place that takes into account the new technologies."

Houston-based Crown Castle has filed an application with the village to fit utility poles with cellular signal boxes called DAS nodes.

The company is trying to do the same thing in "just about every community . . . on the western half of Long Island," according to Rusty Monroe, a North Carolina consultant working with Brookville and two other North Shore villages to draft new ordinances.

Old Brookville's board passed a similar moratorium last week, and Matinecock probably will consider one at its September meeting, according to its town attorney, Peter MacKinnon.

A Crown Castle representative did not respond to a request for comment.

The company's proposed signal boxes would fill in dead zones for cellular service on the North Shore, especially along roadways, according to John Ritter, the attorney for Oyster Bay Cove, where Crown Castle has submitted applications to install six boxes on Cove Road.

Oyster Bay Cove is not considering a moratorium, Ritter said. The other North Shore villages are concerned about potential health impacts, aesthetics and potential effects on property values, Monroe said.

"Those residents didn't pay what they did for their property with the intent of it becoming visually blighted," he said.

Given the recent rapid growth in demand for wireless service, more battles over the installation of equipment are likely in store over the next decade, according to Nicholas Miller, an attorney at a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that works with local governments on telecommunications zoning.

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