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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.

New Cell Tower Proposed To Replace Current Noyac Structure

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Shot of Proposed Tower, simulation
By Claire Walla

Last Thursday, August 25, the Southampton Town Planning Board heard a presentation from representatives of Verizon Wireless, LLC on behalf of homeowner Myron Levine. The Noyac resident has expressed interest in replacing the cell tower that current rests near his hilltop home with a less imposing structure.

As proposed, Verizon Wireless would fund the deconstruction of the current tower, which sits atop the hill at the foot of Brick Kiln Road, and would put-up what’s known as a monopole, a less obtrusive structure with the capacity to accommodate more than one wireless carrier.

“The thought is to take down the old albatross,” said Allen Amato who presented the plan for Verizon Wireless in reference to the 203-foot-tall wiry structure, which looks like a giant letter ‘H,’ or a very rigid pi symbol.

With other carriers like AT&T already looking to expand coverage in the area, Amato said it makes sense to swap the old model — which was constructed in the 1940s — for the newer version.

The plan has been ushered into motion by Levine who, in 2008, bought the property next to his house on Brick Kiln Road that contains the current cell tower. He reached out to Verizon Wireless — which is currently the only wireless carrier using the tower’s signal — to get the ball rolling on the construction of a less obtrusive tower.

Verizon’s presentation focused largely on a visual study conducted by Creative Visuals, Inc. The company took pictures of the location of the proposed cell tower from 15 different vantage points in Sag Harbor, including spots very close to the site in Noyac, as well as from 12,000 feet away on the Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge, which connects Sag Harbor Village to North Haven.

“That is a good example of how the view would significantly improve with the removal of the existing structure,” Amato explained, referencing the images taken from the bridge. The structures themselves will have a difference of about 13 feet above sea level, as the new monopole is predicted to rise about 190-feet high.

The images showed areas in the village where the current tower is visible, but the new tower would be completely hidden from view, like the intersection of Brick Kiln and Stony Hill Roads. In other spots, like Long Beach and The Bridge Golf Course, the tower would still be visible, but it would be less obvious than the current structure.

The other benefit to the monopole, Amato continued, is that all wires would be contained within the structure. In other words, it wouldn’t require additional branches of antennae to be affixed to the outer pole in order for AT&T to join the network. In fact, Amato said the monopole would actually be able to accommodate up to six different carriers.

“Our office has been involved with several hundred applications” for monopoles, Amato explained. He continued that the single-pole structure has been manufactured since the early ‘80s, and since at least the mid-‘90s Verizon Wireless “has only been putting up monopoles.”

Planning board member Phil Keith raised questions having to do with the structure’s safety and stability. “If, God forbid, there’s a catastrophe, how does it collapse… into pieces?” he asked.

Amato said the structure is designed to collapse efficiently. The bottom half of the pole is stronger than the top half, and the middle of the structure has what he referred to as a “crumple zone.”

“So, in a complete catastrophe, it would fold onto itself,” he continued. “This would meet all state and federal standards.”

Having entertained monopole applications in the past — though none having to do with replacing existing towers, but rather with the construction of new towers — Keith said he had done some research on the single-pole structures. Joplin, Missouri “lost 11 out of 17 poles,” he said, referring to when twisters touched down in the town in May.

“They were monopoles,” noted Keith.

Amato stated, however, that his office has been involved with several hundred applications for monopoles, and “To my knowledge there’s a zero failure rate.”

The Southampton Planning Board is scheduled to make a decision regarding this pre-submission conference at a meeting Thursday, October 6.