Written by Katie Piacentini Friday, 22 January 2010 00:00
Several Garden City residents spoke about their growing concern over NextG at the most recent Village Board of Trustees meeting, since NextG has been installing temporary antennas on residential utility equipment. One resident questioned if the board had given permission to NextG to take measurements and whether this was an anticipation of anything to come.
In response, Mayor Rothschild said, “They have advised us which locations they are looking at to test some of their equipment. It’s only testing, nothing else. They have advised the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Village Hall and anyone else who would like to know. They are putting in temporary antennas to test the power of their transmission. It is an anticipation of nothing at this point.”
Trustee Episcopia said that one thing that was upsetting to a few residents who had the temporary antennas installed on their residential utility equipment was that they did not show up in a van or truck that said “NextG.” They came to their homes in unmarked cars, which created an alarming situation for these residents. Mayor Rothschild stated that this was due to the fact that outside contractors are doing the testing.
Pat DiMattia, concerned citizen and president of the Central Property Owner’s Association, said, “With the allowance of NextG to do whatever it is they are doing, it gives the perception that they have been given the green light of something more to come.” She added that she sees no benefit in NextG installing these antennas and requested more information on what benefit there would be for the village. “It seems to me, that if we resolve this issue of who’s benefiting from this service, and we say that there is nobody, it clearly makes it a much easier process to just cut the ties with NextG,” she said.
“The village has taken a very aggressive position with regard to NextG using its right of way and using poles owned by the village,” said Gerard Fishberg, counsel. “However, NextG has a right to use poles in backyards if they get pole attachment agreements from Verizon or LIPA,” he added. “Under the Telecommunications Act, we have no right to ask NextG to demonstrate why their service is good for the village – that is not part of what the Telecommunications Act is all about, which is designed to try to ensure that there is a communications network throughout the country. It is not necessarily to benefit particular residents or a particular municipality.”
Trustee Mauk added, “If we say we are not going to work with them at all, that is a very quick way to end up in litigation.”
Trustee Donnelly echoed Fishberg’s statement that NextG has rights under the Telecommunications Act, which the Village of Garden City cannot do anything about. However, he also stated that the board is trying to deal with them in a way that is best for village residents. “Maybe we could find a place for these 15 locations that is on Clinton Road on the east side of the street by the entrance to the water tower. It would be the same ugly pole, but it isn’t in front of somebody’s house. We are trying to get the best look of this for the people of the village.”