Cell tower riles Lake Ronkonkoma nabe
Residents of Lake Ronkonkoma are planning to protest Saturday morning beneath a Long Island Power Authority transmission tower in their neighborhood, where construction crews are installing a new cellular phone antenna beside a school-bus stop.
For the past week, residents of 11th Street, three blocks north of the Long Island Expressway, have been calling local officials, LIPA and cell-phone companies seeking to block installation of a new taller transmission tower, complete with cell-phone antennas.
Jamie Feiss, a mother of two children who lives down the block and across the street from the proposed site, said concerns range from worries about damage from radio-wave transmission to the dangers of heavy machinery left on a high-traffic street corner.
The new tower is on the same stretch of LIPA right-of-way land that is used as a school bus stop.
"The question is, where are the reports [saying] that this [tower] was necessary considering all the other towers they have?" Feiss said. "How many do they need?"
She and other neighbors believe the tower could be moved to a LIPA substation several blocks away.
LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said T-Mobile is the cell-phone company behind the tower.
"T-Mobile is subject to local zoning codes of the municipality," she said in an e-mail. "T-Mobile has received building permits from the town [of Brookhaven] to construct the cell tower."
T-Mobile spokeswoman Jane Builder explained: "This wireless broadband equipment will reside atop and next to a replacement transmission tower. This installation is consistent with the town's policy to use existing or replacement structures for telecommunications equipment."
She said the company was "in full and complete compliance with all provisions of the Brookhaven Town code," and added, "It is our sincere belief that the proposed equipment for the transmission tower balances the needs of wireless users and the concerns of residents, many of whom are wireless customers today."
A Brookhaven representative couldn't immediately be reached.