Springs Fire District Cell Tower Sparks ControversyComments Off on Springs Fire District Cell Tower Sparks Controversy
Inside Towers on Tuesday reported how the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals on Long Island, NY pointedly disagreed with its Springs Fire District over an already erected 150-foot communications tower. While none of the equipment had been put on the tower early last week when the two sides met, the Zoning Board voted 4-1 to revoke the tower permits issued in 2014, rejecting the fire district’s argument that the tower is desperately needed at its Fort Pond Boulevard property. And it began making noise that the freshly-built structure might have to come down.
This past weekend, crews mounted antennas on the tower, urged by District Board of Commissioners Chairman Pat Glennon. Glennon told 27east.com that the tower is a communications tower and that the antennas are needed to improve emergency systems. The zoning board had argued the permit was issued in error by town building instructors and that the fire district as a municipal entity must “submit its application for further consideration by the town to determine if the project warrants exemption from zoning.” For now, Glennon urged crews to proceed, as “commissioners and their attorneys discuss how to proceed following Tuesday’s revocation of the tower’s building permits,” reports 27east.com.
Carl Irace, attorney for the Springs Fire District, argued that the ruling was not filed in the Town Clerk’s office in time (Monday morning), so the permit was valid when the crews came to begin installing wiring and power supply systems. The antennas were mounted on the 150-foot monopole Monday. He called the short window a “coincidence of logistics” that the antennas were installed after the ruling, but before the filing. He told 27east.com that the district “has been working on the assumption that they are exempt from town zoning controls.” Irace also countered that the fire district is an independent municipality exempt from the previously mentioned zoning requirements.
Neighbors also have gotten in on the conflict, arguing that there was no public notice given; they found out about the pole six months after the building permits were issued and the tower was erected. However, the district claims that the tower was discussed “at more than a dozen public meetings in 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to minutes.” Some of the zoning board says that the neighbors weren’t notified before the meetings, however, so they have an argument.
Now, the decision is possibly in the court’s or the planning board’s hands, another decision that still is as up in the air as the tower itself. Glennon told 27east.com that the tower antennas, which may be operational at the end of December barring any further objection, will “increase the range of department VHF radios as well as boost the strength of signals to Springs Fire Department members’ emergency pagers.”