Tag Archive | "claire vail"

Bid to Replace Guy-Wire with Monopole Moves Ahead in Noyac

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By Claire Walla

Plans to replace a 203-foot guy-wire tower that stretches up out of the hills of Noyac with a 190-foot monopole have slid through the Southampton Town Planning Board without a hitch. Last Thursday, March 8 the public hearing on the application (by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, LLC) was officially closed.

After a 10-day comment period, the planning board will reconvene to discuss the written report submitted by town planner Claire Vail.

“The guy-wire pole was much larger and less attractive,” said planning board member Jacqui Lofaro.

The board has 60 days in which to make a decision. The application is tentatively scheduled to be discussed by the board at its April 26 meeting.

The property in question belongs to Noyac resident Myron Levine, whose house sits on an adjoining piece of property just off Middle Lane Highway. According to Levine, the cell-tower swap is a win-win for all parties: it replaces a large wiry tower with a less-imposing pole, and the new structure will allow for more wireless carriers to put antennae in the area.

“AT&T has already decided to come onto this tower, so one benefit already is that you’ll have Verizon and AT&T,” he said. Currently, the tower only carries signals for Verizon.

Levine said that after the board makes its decision in April, he’ll have to file for a building permit for the new monopole and then construction can begin. Vail confirmed the whole replacement process should take about two months to complete.

“Everyone anticipates that probably by the end of the summer the tower will be up and the other will be down,” Levine continued.

The current structure — in the shape of a capitol ‘H’ with a cross bar on top — was erected sometime in the 1940s as a radio tower. AT&T eventually acquired the structure, which now only sends cell-phone signals. But, it wasn’t until Levine actually purchased the property in 2008 that the plan to replace the old model with a newer monopole was enacted.

According to a presentation on the project from Verizon Wireless, LLC the monopole will hold all of its antennae internally. So, in addition to being far shorter than the current structure, it will never have to branch out vertically to accommodate more carriers. The pole would have room for up to six different carriers at one time.

As part of Verizon’s presentation on the proposed monopole, the company worked with Creative Visuals, Inc. to produce computer generated imaging that shows the visual impacts of a monopole as opposed to the current structure.

The company took pictures from 16 different vantage points, including stretches of Noyac Road, Long Beach and the Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge. The company concluded that — when swapping the guy-wire tower for the monopole — the proposed monopole improved the Noyac vista.

Can You Hear Me Now, Bridgehampton?

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By Claire Walla


According to Lawrence Ré, an attorney for AT&T, the company has searched high and low in Bridgehampton for an existing site at which to place a new cell tower.

“We’ve been looking since 2008,” he said. “We thought the best spot would be the fire house, and repeated attempts were made to see if we could lease space on the tower there.”

“Attempts were also made to go into church steeples,” he continued. However, he said those efforts proved fruitless.

Now, AT&T is eying a 16,213-square-foot parcel off Foster Road (near the train tracks and Butter Lane) to place a new cell phone tower. The structure would be a monopole, meaning all antennae would exist in the interior of the pole, but — without an existing structure to attach itself to — the proposed 120-foot tower would sit in an open lot within the hamlet’s business district.

Ré went on to explain at a Southampton Town Planning Board meeting last Thursday, January 26 that AT&T’s service gap fades west of Butter Lane and one mile to the east of the proposed cell tower property on Foster Avenue.

Cell phone towers “really have to be [placed] every mile, to a mile-and-a-half,” he continued. “Your phone is only eight-tenths of a watt, that’s really low power.”

(AT&T is also proposing to place a 120-foot tall monopole on a 71,000-square-foot parcel on Seabreeze Avenue in Westhampton.)

While Ré explained that the tower could be reduced to a height of 90 feet, AT&T has proposed making the pole 120 feet in order to give it the capacity to take-on other wireless carriers, like Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile. He also added that 120 feel is well within the threshold of 200 feet required for a cell tower to be built near the East Hampton Airport.

However, according to town planner Claire Vail, the proposed height does not currently meet the “fall zone” requirements mandated by town code. But, she added that the town does prefer industrial zones to residential areas for such structures. So, the Southampton Town Planning Board would be able to issue a variance for the structure, if it chose to go ahead with the project.

Board member Jacqui Lofaro asked whether AT&T had considered installing a Distributed Antennae System (DAS) instead of a monopole. (DAS is a way of transporting wireless signals through a collection of small, black boxes that are evenly distributed throughout a community. DAS also operates at a lower frequency.)

However, Ré said people tend to object to DAS. Signals only penetrate 30 or 40 feet from the DAS antenna. And while this system may work in heavily concentrated areas like Manhattan, Ré said, “If a house is set-back 100 feet from the road, it would still get marginal service.”

While Ré acknowledged that the site AT&T is now eyeing for the monopole is not ideal, he said it’s relatively far from residences.

“That’s why we ended up here, it’s an industrial area,” he continued. “We’re trying to remain away from as many houses as we can.”

Though the Hayground School is also in proximity to the site, Ré noted that it’s roughly 1,300 feet away.

“On Long Island, no matter where we pick, there’s always something 1,300 feet away!” he joked. “Again, this wasn’t our first choice, but it really seems like we’ve run into a dead end.”


In other news…


The Southampton Town Planning Board passed a resolution to commence a SEQRA report for the demolition of an existing 203-foot cell tower on a property in Noyac. The decades-old tower — currently a structure made of two large metal beams connected by two large crossbars — would be replaced by a 190-foot monopole.

Methodist Church Hopes to House Pre-K

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By Claire Walla

When The Sag Harbor United Methodist Church made plans to construct a new church on the Sag Harbor Turnpike, the congregation always intended to include space on its ground floor that could be used by another organization, like a pre-school.

Now, after a full year of Sunday services in its brand-new spot, the church is finally hoping to bring a pre-school on-site.

According to Amber Cariglio, a parent at Our Sons and Daughters pre-school in Bridgehampton, the 12-student school hopes to relocate to the United Methodist Church as early as next September. Currently housed at the Hayground School on Butter Lane, she said the school is looking to obtain a bigger space so it can have the room it will need to grow.

The Waldorf-based curriculum is run by teachers Maggie Touchette and Andi Pascaio, who offer programs for children ages 3 to 6. With a bigger space, Cariglio said the program will hopefully be able to expand to include a kindergarten program for 6- and 7-years-olds.

Last week, the Southampton Town Planning Board held a pre-submission hearing on the property to consider changing the churches zoning district from residential to commercial, in order to accommodate another business.

The only voice of dissent came from the church’s Caroll Street neighbor, Pam Wright, who objected to the noise and traffic that might incur from daytime operations.

However, the church’s pastor, Tom MacCleod, said when he knocked on neighbors’ doors to explain what the church was hoping to do, he didn’t seem to face any opposition. He further explained that the biggest impact would occur during pick-up and drop-off hours (8:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.). He also emphasized that, because of the way the church has been built, the pre-school is virtually shielded from view from Caroll Street.

The potential for noise and traffic “is not something we won’t be able to work around,” MacCleod continued. He added that he’s open to hearing any other concerns that might exist within the community.

“We want to be a good neighbor and we want to be able to provide assistance and have knowledge of anything that’s not right,” he added. “Because we know — we live in the neighborhood, too.”

MacCleod emphasized that the church is not physically expanding, or adding any structural additions onto the church building itself. It’s merely seeking to obtain a variance from the town that would allow it to rent out its 6,776 square-foot basement floor.

The idea of partnering with a pre-school program is not new for the Methodist church. When it was located in its old building on Madison Street in Sag Harbor, the church rented space to the Rainbow Preschool. The school relocated to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation’s meetinghouse on the Sag Harbor Turnpike when the old Methodist Church building was sold to a private owner.

According to MacCleod, the church is hoping to get the variance as soon as possible. The application is now open for a 30-day public comment period, after which Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail will draft a pre-submission report. Only then will the church be able to move forward with an actual site plan and, if all goes according to plan, obtain a variance.

Because roughly 80 percent of the building is currently unoccupied, MacCleod said this would make better use of the new facility. He also said that, in addition to covering the increase in utility costs, any income generated from the preschool program would go directly into the church’s outreach endeavors.

“It would go straight back into the community,” he said.

In the end, MacCleod explained that the church’s efforts to bring Our Sons and Daughters on-site has mostly to do with helping others.

“We know that one of the greatest issues in the Hamptons now is finding affordable space,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more apparent. It’s our reality. So, how do we impact our community?

“We see that this is a need,” he continued. “[Our Sons and Daughters] believes that there’s an opportunity for them to grow. And what we’re trying to do is be of help to the community.”

Bridgehampton Company Eyes Monopole

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web Bridgehampton Monopole

By Claire Walla


Amongst the usual array of residential subdivisions and commercial change-of-use applications, last week the Southampton Town planning board saw this word: monopole.

At its regular meeting last Thursday, January 12, the planning board agenda included a site plan application submitted by a company called Elite Towers, LLC, in conjunction with cellular provider AT&T. The plan proposes putting a 120-foot high cell tower (known as a monopole because all antennae are contained inside the structure) on a piece of property near Foster Avenue in Bridgehampton.

The area in question encompasses 16,213 square feet close to the railroad tracks, just off Butter Lane. It also sits in a commercial district that’s currently home to an auto service and repair facility, an interior design studio, and a steel and welding company.

According to town documents, the land is owned by a company called Hampton Terminal, LLC, based in Patchogue. The property already has an 874-square foot building, which, according to the site plan, would be used to house equipment associated with the cell tower. Both Elite Towers and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC (otherwise known as AT&T) did not return calls for comment.

According to Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail, any proposed monopole would have to be governed by certain setbacks. In a residential zone, a tower must not exceed any height equal to or greater than 100 percent of the distance between it and the closest residential building. (In other words, if a pole happens to be 100 feet away from the closest house, it may not exceed 100 feet.) For commercial districts, Vail added, that threshold is 300 percent.

The applicants for this particular application, she said, “don’t even seem to meet this setback.” While the closest residence is technically 551 feet away from the location of the proposed pole, there are commercial buildings well within 120 feet.

Currently, the site location is considered by the town to be an Aquifer Protection Overlay District. Vail explained that this is means it is recognized by the town of Southampton as being an area of recharge for groundwater. Basically, Vail continued, “it’s an area of avoidance.”

However, Vail continued to say that the border for the “Aquifer Protection Overlay District” is not so clearly defined. And there’s also the fact that this land has already seen some construction.

“It’s a site that’s already been disturbed,” she clarified.

Vail said the last monopole application pertaining to a site in Bridgehampton was approved back in 2002. The 120-foot pole, owned by LIPA, that now sits just off Montauk Highway would have had to abide by similar commercial and residential zone setbacks, however this piece of property already contained three poles.

“We have a provision in our code that allows you to replace a pole in kind and in place if it’s within 10 feet [of its original size],” Vail explained. Even though the proposed tower ended up being 20 feet higher than the original, Vail said the planning board gave LIPA a waiver for the project, compromising on the height in exchange for LIPA agreeing to move the tower further away from Montauk Highway.

“It was a very long process… and neighbors complained,” Vail recollected. But, she said the town was satisfied with the compromise. “It’s always a give and take with these things.”

At this point Vail said the site plan for Foster Avenue has not yet been fully vetted. Last week, the board passed a resolution to hold a pre-submission conference on the application, which is currently slated for its next meeting on Thursday, February 9.