Almost six months after Hempstead Town officials registered their objections to a state department of parks, recreation and historic preservation proposal to locate a cell tower in the heart if a residential neighborhood in North Bellmore, the plan has been shelved.
"We were shocked when we learned of the state's ill-conceived plan to cram a cell tower right in the middle of a residential neighborhood," stated Supervisor Kate Murray, recalling the state parks department's notification of their intention to build a cell tower on South Bismark Avenue, west of Bellmore Road, south of the Southern State Parkway. "We wrote a forceful letter to the state and we alerted every homeowner in the area by mail to ensure that they were aware of the ridiculous idea."
Much to the relief of town officials and neighbors, Crown Communications, an agent for the state's parks department, officially stated, "this conceptual proposal will no longer be considered at this time." The statement was included in a letter to Senator Charles Fuschillo who worked closely with Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Councilman Gary Hudes, Councilwoman Angie Cullin, Assemblymen David McDonough and Thomas McKevitt as well as many North Bellmore neighbors to knock down the cell tower proposal.
"We want to thank Senator Fuschillo for helping to defeat this foolish proposal," stated Hudes. "The united efforts of Senator Fuschillo, the neighbors throughout North Bellmore and town officials persuaded the state park's department that this was the wrong place for a cell tower," added Cullin.
The town wrote to the state department of parks, recreation and historic preservation in August demanding that they notify residents of its intention to erect a cell tower along South Bismark Avenue. Additionally, Murray insisted that the state involve local homeowners in the decision making process. What's more the town's letter called on state park's officials to consider co-location of antennas on existing towers, clearly prove that there was a need for additional antennaes, demonstrate to the community that they had considered other locations that would be less intrusive on residential properties and explore utilizing a cellular communications expert to determine the impact of the proposed tower on area home values.
Although the state department of parks and recreation is exempt from town zoning regulations when proposing cellular installations on state land, Murray, Hudes and Cullin believed that if the state followed the example the town created by crafting tough new cell tower legislation in September of 2010 and retaining a cellular communications expert, the proposed South Bismark Avenue location would never withstand impartial and critical analysis. The town's legislation established a host of criteria that need to be met by cellular communications giants to prove "need" and evidence that "alternatives" have been considered in requesting a cell tower/antennae site. The new law also requires the applicant to determine potential impact on local home values if cellular equipment is placed in a particular location. Finally, the town has retained a cellular communications expert to provide impartial evidence, research and testimony in cell tower/antennae hearings that come before the town's board of appeals.
"This proposed cell tower site was never well thought out," observed Hudes. "It never made any sense, and we're glad the state department of park's officials have come to their senses," added Cullin.
"The state park's department's decision not to place a cell tower on South Bismark Avenue is the right one," concluded Murray. "When neighbors, Senator Fuschillo, Assemblymen McDonough and McKevitt and the town combined forces, we were able to defeat this ill-conceived proposal. This is truly a victory for North Bellmore neighbors."