T-Mobile proposes 25-foot cell tower on CI

T-Mobile Northeast LLC., is applying to the Board of Standards and Appeal for permission to construct a 25-foot cell tower atop the roof of 454 City Island Avenue. Photo by Robert Benimoff

T-Mobile is forcing people to ‘stick together’ whether they want to or not. City Island folds are organizing against the installation of a cell phone tower that would soar 56 feet about the street.

An application for the ‘installation of telecommunications equipment, related dunnage and related unipole with antennas’ was filed with the NYC Department of Buildings on Thursday, April 30 and disapproved on Tuesday, May 5 for non–compliance with zoning regulations.

The proposed 25-foot cell tower, which would hold 6 antennas, goes against the strict C2-2 district zoning overlay found within the R3A zoning district of City Island, also apart of a Special City Island District, aimed at preserving the rustic characteristics of City Island.

“They are coming into a community and taking away from the tenor, tone and charm of what this Island is and tries to continue to be,” said Bill Stanton, president of the City Island Civic Association.

The desired site for the project, 454 City Island Avenue, is a 3-story, 6-unit building, owned by absentee landlord John Ciafone, which reaches a height of 31 feet. The antennae would be installed on the roof.

Following disapproval from DOB, T-Mobile Northeast LLC. is appealing to the Board of Standards and Appeals, to which they must prove the need and benefits outweigh the disadvantages, for a special permit allowing them to install the tower.

According to Terry Quinn, development manager at T-Mobile, this site was selected following numerous complaints from customers.

“We carefully consider potential locations throughout the area where residents would benefit from enhanced wireless,” said Quinn. “It would provide a more robust coverage for the area. Some of the main benefits are 911 and emergency call services that cell phones provide. About 90% of the population has cell phones today and half of the 911 calls made are from cell phones.”

Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office, with the help of Senator Jeff Klein’s office, will be working with residents against the installation, as well as compiling a list of objections and concerns for the BSA hearing.

“This community has taken great pains to preserve the charm and beauty that make City Island a jewel of the Bronx. Any attempts to destroy this by going against public opinion and erecting a tower of this size is unjust and unfair,” said Klein. “A community should have the right to defend and preserve its way of life and I stand with City Island residents in opposition to T-Mobile’s design.”

Community Board 10 will conduct a public hearing on the cell tower on Thursday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. at 190 Fordham Street. All are welcome to attend to voice their opinion on the matter.

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