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Health Concerns Over Cell Phone Antenna and Tire Retread Factory

Glen Cove Planning Board Hosts Hearing on Waterfront and Landing Issues

Environmental and public health concerns regarding proposed new business development were voiced at Tuesday night’s Planning Board Meeting held at Glen Cove City Hall. The public hearings involved plans for a T-Mobile cell phone antenna at the water tower near Landing School and the application for a tire retreading factory to operate at the waterfront near Garvies Point.

The first item on the agenda was an application for Forest Glen Realty to build a new pharmacy on Forest Avenue. Mohan Jolly, owner of Glen Cove Pharmacy, expressed his desire for the project to move forward, and numerous customers and community members spoke on his behalf. The motion for construction was approved.

A representative from T-Mobile spoke to the board, stating that there were gaps in service in the Landing neighborhood, which creates a need for an antenna in order to provide coverage. The water tower, located near Landing School, is the ideal spot for the installation of the antenna because a new tower would not need to be built, she said.

The plan is to build a 6-panel antenna on the water tank, and to paint it to blend into the existing structure. She said the antenna would be 25 feet below the top level of the tank to further reduce detection of the addition. T-Mobile would also build a 1400 square foot structure on the site, of which they would only require 400 square feet. She said this structure would not be visible off-site, and would emit no odor, no noise and access to the site would remain the same, making the whole operation an “imperceptible change.”

 “How will this affect the children’s health?” a Landing schoolteacher wanted to know. “You have no business building a tower next to the school. You spent all this time talking about how well it will blend in, but what about the stuff we can’t see?”

Another resident said, “You cannot do this at the expense of the children.”

Resident Glenn Howard raised the point that many children carry cell phones, and parents complain when they do not have coverage. He said his T-Mobile service drops out frequently, and the need for service is a safety issue, so that emergency calls can be made when required.

Several residents stated that more research should be done regarding the long-term effects of exposure on the health of developing bodies.

“You don’t want to find out in 20 years that the children’s health was affected,” one person said.

An independent expert shared the findings of his report, and stated that the emissions were 200 times below the FCC mandate, well below the maximum personal exposure criteria, according to his research.

The board clarified that their jurisdiction over the matter is limited, as it is mandated by the federal government that communications companies provide service to their customers.

“I understand why, from a logistical standpoint, you’re putting the antenna on the tower. What I don’t understand is why you’re putting it in the water that we drink,” one resident said.

The board will vote on the matter at the next meeting.

The issue that drew many residents to the meeting was saved for the end; at 10 p.m. the floor was opened to the public on the matter of New Era Tire, a tire re-treading factory that has applied for a permit to open on the waterfront.

Donald Brown said, “There needs to be a higher standard of scrutiny for this permit. I oppose this permit.”

“What about the noise, the dust, the noxious odors? Is it consistent with the master plan for the waterfront project? I would say no – review all potential hazards and pollution before making a decision,” Brown said.

It was explained to the public by the board that all business applications must be legally reviewed and more research needs to be done before making any decisions.

“It is appropriate to look at the application if he is not using chemicals, but we do need to see more evidence,” it was explained.

One woman who said she was a lifelong resident of Glen Cove said that, while discussing plans for the new track at the high school, much discussion was made as to whether or not the material was made of retread tires and the toxins that would be contained in that material. Having this factory on the waterfront is “the most God-awful thing I can think of,” she said. “Aren’t we going backwards?”

“We cleaned up the waterfront for a reason, and this is not a business that belongs there, it belongs in a more industrialized area. The business owner claims this is a green business, but it is not as green as it sounds.”