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Public to get its say on raising Smithtown cell antenna tonight

Smithtown Town Hall

Smithtown Town Hall Credit: Erin Geismar

The Smithtown Town Board plans to hold a public hearing Thursday night on increasing the height of a cellphone antenna system at the Paul J. Fitzpatrick Country Club in Smithtown from 75 feet to 125 feet.

The new height will allow Site Tech Wireless LLC to put more carriers on the tower, because antennas must be separated by 10 feet per carrier, Smithtown planning director Frank DeRubeis said.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the town wants the tower to be heightened to improve communications for emergency and fire departments.

The town wrote letters this summer to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which oversees the tower area in the river corridor, Vecchio said.

“We were limited to 75 feet,” he said, adding that the town requested an increase “because it wasn’t serving our needs for the public safety.”

Calls to Site Tech Wireless LLC were not immediately returned.

The antenna is about 1,000 feet from the closest neighbors. Although there have been complaints about limited service in the area, DeRubeis said, “it might be visible to the community and there may be people who object to that.”

In 2011, 11 residents of a Smithtown neighborhood objected to a proposal to build a 55-foot cellphone tower at the Smithtown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care. Neighbors said they were concerned about the potential impact on their health and property values, and several said they thought it would be visual blight.

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