Town Of Oyster Bay Acts To Restrict Cell Towers

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Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and members of the town board approved new regulations recently to protect residential communities from the intrusion of wireless telecommunications equipment being placed on utility poles near homes. Under this initiative, applicants are required to first obtain a building permit from the Department of Planning and Development and in some instances also obtain a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals before commencing any installation work.

“While we continue to fight for our residents when it comes to these eyesores in our neighborhoods, federal law prohibits local municipalities from allowing health or environmental concerns to be the basis for denying the placement of telecom equipment,” said Saladino. “The town’s new ordinance will provide us additional authority over where these obstructions are placed in the future.”

Earlier this year, the supervisor took a strong stand against the unfettered installation of telecommunications equipment when he demanded that the federal government amend the law that severely restricts the town’s ability to determine where this equipment should be placed. Under the new initiative announced today, new criteria includes detailed site plans, specification of equipment to be installed, as well as the placement of signage on the equipment which notes radio-frequency levels and contact information in the event of emergencies.

Councilwoman Michele Johnson said the onus should not be on the residents to deal with these communication devices.

“There has been an increase in the placement of these mini cell towers and other telecommunications equipment in recent months and it should not be our residents’ responsibility to shoulder the burden of these intrusive devices,” she said. “The town’s new ordinance will establish stricter guidelines as to where this equipment can be placed.”

Saladino noted that the town’s new ordinance is an important step in his efforts to help further protect the area’s suburban communities.

“No one wants to look out their front window and see an intrusive telecom device near their front lawn,” the supervisor said. “It’s commonsense to regulate their placement in our communities while helping to preserve the quality and character of our neighborhoods. I am proud that our town will have one of the most stringent ordinances in all of New York State, to help protect our residents and their qualities of life.”

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