CI residents oppose T-Mobile cell tower

Residents spoke out against the proposed 25-foot T-Mobile cell tower during the public hearing held by Community Board 10 on Thursday, September 3. Photo by Robert Benimoff

City Island residents rejected the proposed T-Mobile cell tower that many contend poses an aesthetic nightmare.

On Thursday, September 3, residents gathered at 190 Fordham Street for a public hearing held by Community Board 10 to hear a presentation by T-Mobile Northeast LLC representatives.

Several residents issued powerful statements against the tower’s instillation on the grounds it violated the island’s zoning regulations.

“T-Mobile represents big business, and we are a small community, and we are constantly fighting,” said Bill Stanton during the meeting. “We are telling you in unison that we don’t want this and you are telling us we don’t have a choice, but I am saying we do. We will fight this every step of the way.”

The plan to erect the tower atop 454 City Island Avenue was submitted to the NYC Department of Buildings on April 30 and denied on May 5. T-Mobile is now requesting a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals that would allow the tower to rise to a height that exceeds the Special City Island District zoning regulations.

“I’ve been a resident of this building about 12 years and the landlord allowing this and exposing all of us to unknown health risks is being selfish. He is just trying to make a quick buck,” said Nancy Garcia, who lives in the building.

“The roof is weak and unstable as is, and there are problems within the building itself. He should take care of that before putting a tower on top of where I live,” she said.

Many questioned the necessity of a 25-foot tower housing six antennas.

“We are inundated with cell towers already for such a small area,” said Inga Otto, who resides across from 30 Pilot Street where T-Mobile has existing antennas. “We have special zoning, which we fought very hard for with support from our elected officials.”

According to the attorney representing T-Mobile the cell tower is designated specifically to cover service for the northern end of the Island.

“The community was disappointed in T-Mobile’s responses,” said Kenneth Kearns, district manager of CB10. “The entire request is predicated on T-Mobile’s desire to expand it’s business and the representatives, while knowledgeable about the law, evidently have no knowledge of the community in which they are planning to erect the tower.”

The CB10 members at the meeting will be drafting a recommendation for the Housing and Zoning committee to create a resolution against the proposed plan, which will then go to a full board vote. CB10 acts in an advisory capacity on BSA issues.

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