Community Board 10 Keeps Stance on City Island Cell Tower

City Island residents are keeping up the fight against what they believe will tarnish the historic flavor of the island.

Since September 2009, the residents of City Island and Community Board 10 have tried to block the placement of a cell phone tower from T-Mobile Northeast LLC. The 25-foot tower that they plan to build on top of 454 City Island Avenue, will violate City Island’s Special Zoning District on height, they say.

The multi-family building, which is 31 feet high, will jump to a total 56-feet high if the tower is constructed on top of it. The special zoning does not allow structures to exceed 35 feet high.

After T-Mobile was denied their proposal to construct the tower by the NYC Department of Buildings, they re-applied for a special permit through NYC’s Board of Standards and Appeals to building beyond the allowable height.

CB 10 unanimously passed a resolution against the new cell phone tower plan.

“It’s not a secret and it hasn’t been, the board and City Island residents do not want the tower there,” said Ken Kearns, CB 10 district manager. “T-Mobile thinks they’re doing City Island a favor, but we are unanimous in our decision that the tower will not benefit the community at all and we are strong in our position.”

Over a year later, CB 10 has been willing to work with T-Mobile and has offered alternative locations on City Island that would abide by the zoning restrictions, but T-Mobile has refused every option and has until Tuesday, March 29 to provide the Board of Standards and Appeals with an adequate location on the island that would be within the special zoning.

A year after the initial proposal, CB 10 has offered T-Mobile to find an alternate location on City Island that would abide by the zoning restrictions, but T-Mobile has steadfastly refused each option.

T-Mobile has until Tuesday, March 29 to accept one of CB 10’s alternate sites. If not received by that date, T-Mobile will go to the BSA without the support of CB 10.

“T-Mobile says the tower will benefit their customers on City Island, but we’ve asked and found no complaints from their customers,” said Barbara Dolensek, vice president of the City Island Civic Association. “The tower, as porposed, would simply be well out of the maximum height in our special zoning.”

The Department of City Planning gave City Island its special zoning in 2001 to preserve its low-rise, low-density character and maintain the “village” quality of City Island’s shopping district that has made it a unique area of the Bronx.

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