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Feb 10, 2012 3:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Quogue Resident Thinks Fire District Should Drop T-Mobile

Feb 15, 2012 12:55 PM

An East Quogue resident attending last week’s Southampton Town Planning Board hearing on T-Mobile’s application to build a 100-foot-tall cellphone tower in the hamlet thinks the local fire district should drop the carrier altogether if it wishes to improve communications between emergency responders.

Resident Don Bouchard suggested that the East Quogue Fire District investigate whether or not it can attach its emergency antennae, which fire officials have stated is needed to eliminated dead zones that sometimes make it difficult for firefighters and EMTs to communicate, to a 152-foot-tall tower owned by Cablevision and located north of Sunrise Highway, off Central Boulevard. Mr. Bouchard thinks that a communications antenna could be attached to the existing tower, and said that calls made to Cablevision have indicated that it would be “amenable to an agreement if approached.”

The application now before the Planning Board seeks the town’s permission to erect a 100-foot-tall monopole behind the East Quogue firehouse on Montauk Highway. As part of the proposed agreement, T-Mobile would rent the land from the fire district and, in turn, fire officials would be allowed to attach their antennae to the tower. Members of local civic and community groups have publicly opposed the application.

By utilizing the pre-existing tower, the fire district would no longer need to enter a contract with T-Mobile, Mr. Bouchard said. He added that his plan would address the issue of aesthetics, as many hamlet residents have said they oppose the T-Mobile plan because they don’t want a tower that’s four times the height of all other nearby structures looming over Main Street.

“Let’s find a way to keep our residents safe while preserving the integrity of this beautiful place we call home,” Mr. Bouchard said at last week’s hearing, held on February 9.

Calls placed to Cablevision this week were not immediately returned.

Allyn Jackson, a commissioner of the East Quogue Fire District, said Tuesday that fire officials had reached out to Cablevision in the past but, at the time, were concerned about the costs of renting space on the taller tower. He said officials also looked at other towers in the area but that their best plan was installing 
the antennae behind their 
main firehouse on Montauk Highway.

“Well, we don’t think it is as good of an option as the one we have provided,” Mr. Jackson said of the Cablevision suggestion. “However, the district quite some time ago—I don’t exactly how long ago—investigated the tower quite thoroughly and it was not anything that they felt was viable.”

In addition to taking a long time to get back to fire district officials, Mr. Jackson said Cablevision was going to charge them an “exorbitant rental fee” each month. He said he did not know how much as he was not directly involved with those negotiations.

“The location was good, but the fee is not good,” Mr. Jackson said.

According to Mr. Bouchard, the land near the main firehouse is only 18 feet above sea level, meaning that the cellphone tower proposed by T-Mobile would be 118 feet above sea level. At this height, Mr. Bouchard said he does not understand how the proposed monopole would reach all corners of the hamlet as some areas of East Quogue are located 200 feet above sea level. The Cablevision tower, he added, is 52 feet taller than the proposed tower and, more important, located in a section of the hamlet that is 184 feet above sea level.

Mr. Bouchard also discussed at length the “fall zone” requirements for a cellphone tower and stressed that the current proposal does not meet any of the town’s requirements. Cell towers built in residential neighborhoods must have fall zones of at least 300 feet in all directions; the minimum distance goes down to 100 feet in business zones. If built, the T-Mobile tower would be only 92 feet from the closest business to the west, on Bay Avenue, and nearly a dozen homes also fall within the zone, according to Mr. Bouchard.

“This tower lacks the much-needed community support,” Mr. Bouchard said. “This tower falls short in too many areas.”

At the hearing, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, a petition containing 487 signatures of East Quogue residents who oppose the application was presented to the Planning Board. The document was presented by hamlet resident Brad Murphree.

“I am formally requesting that the fire district withdraw the application,” said Mr. Murphree, noting that he collected signatures both online and door-to-door.

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“This tower lacks the much-needed community support,” Mr. Bouchard said. “This tower falls short in too many areas.”

...except in the fall zone, of course.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 10, 12 3:57 PM
This is what happens when baby game show hosts, our local politicians who have no clue about technology, decide to exercise their egos. Because of the short sided obsolete town codes, cell phone users have to pay for service we are not getting because of the lack of cell phone towers. There is no excuse for denying the construction of cell phone towers. I have personally seen cell phone towers that look like trees, beautiful trees. Even though every business mogul, celebrity has a second home in ...more
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on Feb 10, 12 6:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
incorrect rcc1049; anybody who owns a home in any of our fine towns has the option to vote in local elections. However they are not able to vote in more than one jurisdiction, thus many of them vote in the district of their primary residence. Frankly, I don't think that the people who merely "vacation" here a couple weekends a year would have our (locals) best interests at heart when voting in our local elections, but thats just me.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Feb 11, 12 2:23 PM
rrc: "restrict the quality of life"

"quality of life" is subjective. please don't imply that you're speaking for everyone when voicing your own opinion.

"kiss my butt" : kiss my butt

"look like trees" - what level of similarity are you willing to accept? you could be asking to little if you're willing to settle for representations of the real thing.

no on hugs a cell tower
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on Feb 11, 12 10:25 AM
*too
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on Feb 11, 12 10:25 AM
We need towers, they have become an important part of our sophisticated communications network. It will save lives people. You simply don't realize how dependent you'll all become and you're taking it for granted.

Approve the towers.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 12, 12 12:31 AM
Not all of us are against the cell phone tower, just the group who control the civic association. There are many others who are for it, and if one speaks up they are ostracized within the community.
By crusader (391), East Quogue on Feb 12, 12 7:20 AM
The East Quogue Citizen Advisory Committee voted 100 percent againstthe tower last Wed. night. The marjority of the East Quogue Historical Society Board is against it and neither are controled by the Civic Association. Your last sentence is a good one that many are afraid to speak out. Let's hear from the E. Q. Chamber, Board of Education, PTA, Real Estate, church groups and Cemetary Association. Any organizations I missed aside of the EQFD. Carol Combes
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 12, 12 10:28 AM
We need towers, they have become an important part of our sophisticated communications network. It will save lives people. You simply don't realize how dependent you've all become and you're taking it for granted. Without communication towers response times can be affected. If you've never encountered the need for emergency services such as police, fire or rescue, then you'll never understand this need.

What I find more objectionable is that fire siren - that loud, annoying, outdated, ...more
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 12, 12 11:34 AM
Fine, ding the towers, but then I don't want to hear bitchin about crappy signals and dropped calls.
Can't have things both ways with mobile phones. Just like when you issue building permits by the ream for decades while refusing to upgrade roads and infrastructure for "environmental" reasons, you can't complain about traffic jams.
By smacw (240), New York on Feb 12, 12 12:36 PM
Why don't they look at putting a tower up by East Coast Mines? What about Spinny Hills? The center of town is just ridiculous and absurd. If you want to use fire communications for an argument, go ahead. We as a community can fix that.
Has anyone asked us about a new antenna? NO.
I do believe we as a community would prefer an antenna over a cell phone tower.
I believe we as a community would be able to raise the necessary funds for this too. And wouldn't that be a wonderful ...more
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Feb 13, 12 8:17 AM
4 members liked this comment
Having asked a EQFD member about the placement of the tower elsewhere his answer to me was how do we get the signal back to the dept. Put up an antenna at the fire dept. said I. . Just imagiine no trees around the village in say a two mile radious. I believe many home would be able to see this 100 foot tower. Carol
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 15, 12 9:29 AM
What the heck are you talking about? The tower clearly belongs at the fire house. It won't fall down, and no trees will be harmed.

Approve the tower at the fire house1
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 15, 12 6:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
I said if there were no trees in this village area this tower woudl be seen by most homes in a two mile radious being so high.. Carol
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 24, 12 6:55 AM