Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 15 August 2014 00:00
Four years after the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals denied a proposal to construct six T-Mobile transmitters on the roof of the Farmingdale-Wantagh Jewish Center along Woodbine Avenue, a federal district court decision, on July 22, dismissed the case.
“The court’s decision to dismiss this case signifies another crucial victory for Hempstead Town and Wantagh neighbors,” said Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “The proposal never conformed to the character of this cherished suburban community, and we’re thrilled that our preservation efforts have been rewarded.”
In 2010, the town hired Richard Comi, a consultant with the Center for Municipal Solutions, to ensure that any of the company’s new wireless communications would be sited in a location with the least negative impact on the community.
After listening to the suggestions and comments of residents in both the Farmingdale and Wantagh communities, the Board of Appeals rejected the proposal. In response the telecommunications company challenged the town’s decision in court.
Town officials would later join with neighbors to express concern over the impact cell towers would have on local property values and the suburban character of the community.
“I’m proud to join with Wantagh neighbors in celebrating this important victory,” said Town Councilwoman Angie Cullin.
Town officials also gave praise for having one of the nation’s toughest wireless communications laws permissible by the federal government and enabling residents to have a powerful voice when it comes to dealing with big corporations in their communities.
“This culminates a long effort against the unwanted proposal of a telecommunications giant in this proud residential community,” Town Councilman Gary Hudes added.
But while the town continues to laud the federal court’s dismissal as a victory, according to the federal court’s decision, it was ultimately the decision of T-Mobile to dismiss the case. In addition, the court ruled that each party shall bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees.
“While this victory is sweet, we’ll continue to remain vigilant in the face of other potentially troublesome cell antenna applications in our communities, as well as other quality-of-life issues,” Murray said.
“I thank the neighbors of Wantagh for their hard work and tireless efforts in preserving the suburban nature of our communities, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to maintain our neighborhoods as great places in which to live, work and raise a family.”