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Bohemia Fire Department backs out of cell tower plan

Bohemia resident Steve Zaino criticizes the commissioners of

Bohemia resident Steve Zaino criticizes the commissioners of the Bohemia Fire District for going into executive session last month to discuss personnel issues instead of answering questions about the controversial 120-foot-tall cell towers they planned to erect on fire department property. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The Bohemia Fire Department has formally withdrawn its applications for two cell towers on fire district property.

The department submitted a letter to the Islip Town zoning board of appeals, which formally accepted the letter at its Tuesday meeting.

"The Board of Fire Commissioners has determined that it will not permit any cellular phone communications equipment to be installed on its property," the department's letter said.

The fire commissioners voted unanimously on Sept. 11 to back out of a proposed deal with East Islip-based Highlander Consultants to build two cell towers at its Pearl Street firehouse and behind the fire station on Eighth Street. The deal would have allowed the department to upgrade its radio equipment at no cost and make $100,000 for each tower and about 40 percent of the revenue Highlander received from cell service providers using the towers — as much as $16,000 per month.

More than 100 residents confronted the commissioners at the Sept. 11 meeting to air their concerns over diminished property values and health risks from proximity to cell towers.

A call to the department was not immediately returned Thursday.

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