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Old Brookville delays cell antenna approval

The Old Brookville Village board has approved a six-month moratorium on approval and construction of cellular telephone antennas and other telecommunication facilities.

The board voted unanimously Monday night, saying it needed time to update the village ordinance covering the issue.

The vote delays any consideration by the board of a wireless technology firm's application filed nine months ago with Old Brookville and neighboring villages to build an antenna network to boost cell service on the North Shore. Mayor Bernard Ryba said the moratorium would give the village time to work with its consultant and hear residents' concerns.

The only speaker at the hearing was an attorney for the company, Crown Castle of Houston, which wants to refit five utility poles with antennas and radio-access network, or RAN, boxes.

Attorney David Bronston argued that the moratorium would violate provisions of federal telecommunications law, Federal Communications Commission decisions and court rulings by unreasonably prolonging action on the application, denying residents telecommunications services and giving competitors who already have equipment in the village an unfair edge.

Village attorney John Chase noted that the Nassau County Planning Commission had recommended only a three-month moratorium, but said the village could end the moratorium early if it was able to update its ordinance before the six months, which he expected would be the case.

Ryba told Bronston that "we are interested in moving forward" with the application but that the village needs more information and an updated ordinance first. He said that would allow a "more comprehensive, transparent approach."

Crown Castle also has applications pending with Brookville, Upper Brookville, Matinecock and Oyster Bay Cove to install antenna units.

Brookville has scheduled a hearing on a moratorium July 24.

Old Brookville and Brookville have hired North Carolina telecommunications consultant Rusty Monroe of the Center for Municipal Solutions to draft new ordinances.

Muttontown last month became the first of the North Shore villages to approve a Crown Castle application, for modifying two utility poles.

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