Members of the Juniper Park Civic Association testified against Omnipoint's plan to erect a cell tower atop 53-20 72nd Place in Maspeth at the Board of Standards and Appeals on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008.
Executive Board Members Manny Caruana and Tony Nunziato spoke out against the plan at the hearing, which was held at 40 Rector Street in Manhattan. Joining them were Assemblywoman Marge Markey and representatives of Councilman Dennis Gallagher, State Senator Serf Maltese, Congressman Joe Crowley, Borough President Helen Marshall, Community Board 5, Maspeth Town Hall and COMET. About 30 residents of Maspeth turned out to support the speakers.
Speakers made the point that the 27-foot tall, 36"-wide tower would destroy neighborhood character, the building may not structurally be able to support the tower, and T-Mobile's own coverage map shows there is maximum cell strength in the areas surrounding the proposed location.
The Commissioners asked the applicant to consider other sites in manufacturing, commercial or cemetery areas, and return with analysis of these alternatives.
Not realizing that public opinion would be against him, the owner of Frank's Deli, Joe Wroblewski signed a contract with Omnipoint last year to erect the tower atop his building. It is in close proximity to many residences and Maspeth Town Hall. After the public outcry over possible hidden health hazards posed by the tower, Wroblewski said he regretted signing the contract but could not renege on the deal as it was binding.
However, the company seeking to install the tower can withdraw their application for the special permit. Omnipoint already has several other cell towers in this area and this is not believed to enhance cell service. Community Board 5 and Borough President Helen Marshall have both issued advisory opinions against the cell tower, and every local elected official has come out against it. The last step in the permit process is the Board of Standards and Appeals which can approve it regardless of the other opinions.
"I am totally dismayed that Omnipoint would go against the wishes of community board 5, every elected official and the people of this community and continue to seek a special permit to erect this cell tower," said Tony Nunziato, Chair of the Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force.
The next step:
The BSA rescheduled another hearing for 4/15/08. We will keep you updated as the date approaches.