City Island Wins Cell Tower Fight

City Island has won the battle to keep an oversized cell phone tower out of their neighborhood.

Since September 2009, elected officials, local residents and Community Board 10 have fought to keep an oversized cell phone tower for T-Mobile Northeast LLC from being placed on City Island.

The 25-foot tower was intended to be built on top of 454 City Island Avenue, however on Friday, May 20, Senator Jeff Klein, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, and other elected officials announced that T-Mobile had withdrawn its plans to construct the cell phone tower after meeting with company representatives.

Residents felt that the tower would not have maintained the low-rise, unique low-density character of City Island.

“This was the wrong size and the wrong place,” Senator Klein said. “I am glad the T-Mobile listened to the community and withdrew its plan that would have stood in sharp contrast to the character of City Island.”

City Island has a special zoning that does not allow structures to exceed a height of 35 feet. It was developed in 2001 by the Department of City Planning to maintain the “village” quality of City Island.

The multi-family building on 454 City Island Avenue is already 31-feet high. The cell phone tower would have jumped 454 City Island Avenue’s total height from 31 feet to 56 feet. T-Mobile was denied their proposal to construct the tower by the NYC Department of Buildings, but re-applied for a special permit through NYC’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

For over a year, CB 10 worked with T-Mobile to find an alternative location on City Island that would meet current zoning restrictions.

On Tuesday, March 29, T-Mobile went before the BSA without the support of CB 10 or having accepted an alternate location.

“I think T-Mobile saw the writing on the wall,” Councilman Vacca said. “T-Mobile’s withdrawal sends a signal that people who think they can put a cell phone tower anywhere they want better think again.”

Vacca also stated that allowing T-Mobile to construct a tower on 454 City Island Avenue would have wrongfully rewarded building owner John Ciafone, who according to the DOB, has several outstanding building violations.

“This is a nice victory in our battle against cell phone towers on City Island,” Assemblyman Benedetto said.

More from Around NYC