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Muttontown residents oppose cell antennas

A bid to install an antenna network on Muttontown Road to enhance cellphone coverage on the North Shore met fierce opposition from residents along that woody stretch.

"I moved to Muttontown -- and I pay Muttontown village taxes -- to live in a quaint town," Jacqueline Libertoff said during a public hearing on Tuesday. "I would rather have spotty service" than the proposed antennas.

Crown Castle, a Houston-based wireless communications company that is modifying 17 utility poles on state-controlled roads including routes 106 and 25A, is seeking permission to modify three more on Muttontown property.

The company has proposed attaching 2-foot-tall antennas and radio-access network, or RAN, boxes to existing poles.

"This infrastructure and network are necessary . . . to fill severe service gaps in this area," Crown Castle attorney David Bronston said. The alternative for remedying poor cellphone service is taller, more unsightly towers, he said.

Crown Castle also has approached the North Shore villages of Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville, Matinecock, Mill Neck, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow about right-of-way agreements, Bronston said.

Muttontown residents at the hearing questioned Crown Castle's research, raised concerns about aesthetics and radio-frequency hazards, and insisted their cellphone service is sufficient.

"If it's an inconvenience to either residents of the village or people who travel through the village, I think that's a very little price to pay for the beauty that we have and the safety of our citizens," resident Robert Rosenthal said.

Mayor Julianne W. Beckerman and village board trustees on Tuesday made no decision on the Muttontown Road proposal and indicated they may conduct their own research on radio frequencies.

The board did grant Crown Castle an extension -- to May 8 -- to complete previously approved antenna installations and a network hub at Muttontown Village Hall.

A separate application to build two 150-foot cellphone towers in Muttontown Preserve has been submitted to Nassau County, Beckerman said.

County spokeswoman Katie Grilli-Robles said the application from Bayshore-based Green Towers Group is in its initial stages.