Williston Park plans to approve Verizon antenna plan

The Island Now
Verizon Wireless plans to install a new communications facility on the roof of this building on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. (Photo from Google Maps)

By Amanda Copkov

The Village of Williston Park Board of Trustees decided Monday to permit Verizon Wireless to construct a wireless communication facility and backup power generator in the village.

The wireless facility and generator would be installed in brick-covered “penthouses” on the roof of 270-74 Hillside Ave., a commercial building.

Mayor Paul Ehrbar announced at the beginning of the public hearing that the Board of Trustees hired a noise expert as well as a real estate evaluation company to review Verizon Wireless’s pending application and to determine if the structure would cause any significant concerns.

Ehrbar said that nothing significant was found to contradict Verizon’s initial analysis.

The board is waiting to get a draft of a written decision from James Bradley, the village attorney, before officially approving Verizon’s application.

Ehrbar expressed the board’s concerns over whether insulation would be installed to lessen  noise, how often the company would test the generator and during what time of day.

Denise Vista, an attorney for Verizon, said noise from construction would be well below what the village code allows, and that there would be enough space to include additional insulation to further reduce the noise.

She told the board that the wireless facility and generator would only be tested once every two weeks for 30 minutes, as opposed to the prior proposal for weekly hourlong tests.

Some residents at the hearing expressed health concerns due to the number of cell towers within a certain range of the village and surrounding areas.

Bradley addressed these concerns by telling residents that as an applicant, Verizon needed to demonstrate the need for a new facility.

Verizon representatives said the antennas are being constructed to take pressure off of two nearby cellular facilities. They will also improve Verizon’s coverage on a three-mile stretch of Hillside Avenue, they said.

Vista reiterated that the antennas will not have an impact on property values in Williston Park and that the generator will only be used in an emergency.

Also on Monday, Ehrbar announced that Williston Park received a Clean Energy Community Grant Award of $50,000, which it will use for energy savings.

“We will use the money to help accomplish that goal,” Ehrbar said. “I’m hopeful to help save energy on a number of different projects.”

The Clean Energy Communities Program, administered by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, offers grants to municipalities that complete at least four of 10 “high impact actions” to reduce energy use or encourage sustainability, according to the program’s website.

The village must now submit a grant proposal that would further reduce its energy use or otherwise make it more environmentally sustainable, according to the program’s guidance documents.

Trustee Michael Uttaro also reported that the board received a grant through the Village Court that will provide for the installation of a new fire alarm system throughout Village Hall and the attached Williston Park Library.

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