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In Massapequa Park, a bad reception to firm's cell plan

About 75 residents turned out for a public hearing at a Massapequa Park village board meeting Monday to express concerns about a telecommunications company’s plan to add cell phone service equipment to nine utility poles in the village.

Village Mayor James Altadonna said board members and some residents voiced concerns that the equipment’s appearance would affect prices.

“Obviously, we are not in favor of it,” Altadonna said. “To me, it is not only not aesthetically pleasing, but it devalues people’s homes.”

Massapequa Park has an ordinance that prohibits telecommunications companies from erecting communications towers without a permit from the village board.

However, Altadonna said the company applying for the permit, California-based NextG, isn’t subject to the ordinance because it is legally classified as a utility company. Plus, it isn’t building a tower.

At the meeting, the village offered a compromise: put the equipment, called nodes, underground instead of on utility poles and, in exchange, the village board would forgo a $350 per node franchise fee.

"We are not adverse to technology, we just don't like technology that's put in front of us in a threatening manner," Altadonna said.

NextG has not yet responded to the town’s proposal, Altadonna said.

NextG Networks did not immediately return calls for comment, but on its website, the company says it is mindful of communities’ aesthetic requirements.

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