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.