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Aug 27, 2019 2:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

The Race Is On For The First New Cell Tower In Springs

Camp Blue Bay, off Flaggy Hole Road, is owned by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. There is already an 80-foot cellular tower and the company that owns it is applying for permission to build a new one, 150 feet tall, that could host emergency communications equipment for the town.
Aug 27, 2019 4:05 PM

Two cellular telephone companies are now racing to be the first to get a new tower approved for construction in Springs, and to position themselves as the provider of the town’s new emergency communications equipment.

Elite Towers, which has a contract with the Springs Fire District for a tower at its Fort Pond Boulevard firehouse, and American Tower, which has a contract with the Girl Scouts of Nassau County for a tower at the Girl Scouts’ camp on Flaggy Hole Road, are both applying to the East Hampton Town Planning Board seeking permission for new, taller, monopole-style towers, and both are hoping their project will be seen as necessary for the town’s $11 million new communications system.

Both companies already have towers in use on their respective properties, but they are asking permission to install taller ones to accommodate the heights needed by the town’s system.

Elite Towers has asked for permission to build a 180-foot tower, and American Tower is expected to apply soon for a 150-foot tower for the Camp Blue Bay site, where an 80-foot tower currently stands.

Meanwhile, town officials are waiting to see how quickly the respective applications progress before they decide where to mount the $750,000 worth of antennas and equipment needed for each tower.

“We know we need a tower in Springs to complete the new upgrades,” Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said. “We have this pressing need to solve the communications gap in Springs, so … we’ve been working with them both on parallel tracks, because we can’t afford to put all our eggs in one basket.”

But the town has also voiced frustration with the Springs Fire District and its tower company. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc had urged the district and Elite to bring its tower to the Planning Board more than 18 months ago.

The fire district, however, has a lawsuit pending against the Town Zoning Board of Appeals, which had revoked a building permit for an existing tower on the firehouse property. The district had continued to press legal action before embarking on what could be a lengthy planning review, and it did not file its application until this July.

In the meantime, the town pushed forward with “parallel” plans with American Tower and included the Flaggy Hole Road tower in approvals of its communications system plans.

An attorney for Elite Towers had asked that its application for the firehouse tower be taken up by the Town Board, but Mr. Van Scoyoc told the company in a letter last week that the town had proceeded to work with American Tower for an alternative site since the fire district was still in legal limbo.

“It should … be noted that there is no plan at this time to seek a location on the fire district’s proposed new 180-foot pole, which remains subject to both the town’s approval process and, most importantly, the resolution of litigation,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said in the letter. “It’s the town’s objective to meet public safety needs and provide the much-needed emergency services communications coverage in Springs as quickly as possible. To meet that objective, the process of planning for a new pole at the Flaggy Hole site, which has proceeded steadily since mid-2018, will be pursued.”

The need for several new towers — each with the same $750,000 worth of antennas and equipment — has added millions to the originally anticipated costs of the emergency communications system. But it should substantially improve the reach of communications in areas of Springs, Northwest Woods and Montauk that have long suffered from gaps in communication that emergency personnel say could someday literally be the difference between life and death.

The towers are also expected to improve cellular phone service in those same areas as carriers rent space for their own antennas on them.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, the board’s liaison to Springs, said that nothing is set in stone yet in terms of where the town will mount its equipment, and that if the fire district can win approval for its tower the town could still find it to be the better option.

“Our preference is whichever one gets done the quickest,” the councilwoman said. “Safety first.”

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Cell-phones towers are ugly and their radiation may be harmful to human health.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 28, 19 11:21 AM
The monopole towers are not that bad, unless you want to ban cell phones altogether?

There is one near the BH train station, and another west of Stony Hill and Brick Kiln Roads. There used to be a huge steel structure up there, a dinosaur from the post WW II era.

"Choose you poison," I guess, but if we are going to have cell tower the monopole variety is probably the best we can do IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 28, 19 5:35 PM
But you most like use a cellphone, right? If you’re so concerned about EM radiation, look at your phone and the inadequate cellular infrastructure out here.

Google some physics - specifically, radiation inverse square law. You’ll find that distance has a much more profound effect on exposure. Since the exposure intensity is non-linear function of distance, distance is your friend. Since a typical cell phone will ramp up its power in an attempt to reach a far-flung distant ...more
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Aug 31, 19 9:36 AM
Asatron "Cell-phones towers are ugly and their radiation may be harmful to human health"

So is having a hart attack while out for a walk or trapped in your car after a deer jumps into your windshield and not being able to call for help !

By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Aug 28, 19 7:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Distracted driving is more of a threat than not being able to use a cell to call for help. If a cell phone tower was proposed that was in view of your home it is likely and reasonable that you would NIMBY. I lived for many years without cell-phones and I was fine. Recently, I've been intentionally leaving my cell at home when I go out to recreate and it's wonderful. I absolutely recognize that people in 2019 are in love with their glowing rectangles and that more towers are going to be built ...more
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 29, 19 10:59 AM