A wireless company has approached several villages within North Hempstead Town about installing more than 60 cellphone antennas on utility poles throughout the town.
Officials in Munsey Park, Plandome, Flower Hill and Plandome Manor have been contacted by ExteNet Systems Inc., an Illinois-based company that builds cellphone infrastructure for providers. Formal applications have not yet been submitted.
Several village officials said they are concerned about the possibility of new cell equipment and are exploring enacting local laws.
Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno said the village board wants to better understand environmental and aesthetic factors, safety and possible radiation.
“The whole thing is a little disturbing,” Donno said. “It concerns me that we are such a small village in such a small area, and 23 of them are going in our village.”
Plandome Manor spans about 370 acres.
According to documents, plans call for antennas and radio equipment to be affixed to existing infrastructure, such as utility poles and light poles, at various rights of way throughout the villages. Fiber-optic cable would also be installed to link the equipment to the network.
There is no mention of which wireless carrier is involved. According to documents, the carrier is “seeking to improve its network” for “high quality mobile connectivity.”
ExteNet is “committed to being a good neighbor” and has requested conversations with officials, according to a petition sent to Munsey Park village officials in April. A representative from ExteNet could not be reached for comment.
Villages have called public hearings to discuss the matter.
Officials in Plandome Manor initially drafted a six-month moratorium restricting construction of wireless facilities in the village, which is still being finessed for a vote at a future public hearing.
Rachel Scelfo, Plandome’s village attorney, said a moratorium would give officials time to draft legislation establishing a review process for telecommunications equipment. The village declined to provide the full list of locations.
ExteNet intends to install a location in Munsey Park, on Manhasset Woods Road north of the intersection with Park Avenue.
Plandome Heights officials have drafted a local law to regulate cell towers and antennas, to be discussed at a June public hearing. Mayor Kenneth Riscica said that ExteNet has not proposed any installations within the village, but that regulation is necessary so that there is a “level playing field.”
“If all the other villages around me have a protective law and I don’t have a protective law, then I’m at a disadvantage,” Riscica added.
Plandome Village Clerk Elizabeth Kaye said the board plans to meet with ExteNet in the coming weeks and will express concerns about radiation and possible health risks.
The Village of Flower Hill adopted a law on telecommunications in 2013, which sets forth specific provisions for locations and village approvals that must be secured.
CELLPHONE ANTENNA PROJECT
A total of 66 total antennas would be installed in the following areas, primarily on utility poles and municipal streetlights:
- 18 in Flower Hill
- 1 in Munsey Park
- 9 in Plandome
- 23 in Plandome Manor
- 15 in North Hempstead Town
COMPANY TOUTS BENEFITS
According to ExteNet, the cellphone antenna installations would:
- Offer 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi service for a given wireless service provider
- Allow low power usage, alleviate aesthetic concerns
- Involve easy installation
- Blend in better with the surrounding environment
- Bring the network closer to users
- Have radiation centers that are closer to the ground and are less prone to interference