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Fire commissioners set for cell tower talk

JULIE LANE PHOTO Cell tower providers could be at tonight’s Shelter Island Board of Fire Commissioners meeting to discuss proposals for placing a tower at the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
Cell tower providers could be at tonight’s Shelter Island Board of Fire Commissioners meeting to discuss proposals for placing a tower at the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane.

Representatives of two cell tower companies are expected to make pitches to the Shelter Island Board of Fire Commissioners at tonight’s meeting at the Center Firehouse.

A fire storm erupted in February after Ed Mooney of East Islip-based Highlander, a cellphone tower installation company, arrived at a January Fire Commissioners meeting without a formal proposal, but suggesting the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane would be an appropriate site for a second tower — the other is at the Town Recycling Center — to serve both cellphone customers and the fire department.

He was invited back, as was a representative from another cell tower installation company, but neither showed in March. Both have been invited to tonight’s meeting.

Amid complaints from some Hay Beach area residents about siting a cell tower at the Firehouse, commissioners have made it clear that no formal proposal has been received and even if one or more is submitted, the process of vetting them would not only rest with the commission, but the Town Board.

That means there would be ample time to explore questions of whether there are alternatives to a tower that could increase reception for cellphone users and fill voids experienced by firefighters in the Hay Beach and Ram Island areas.

If a tower is the only option, other questions would revolve around how it would look, just where it might be placed and any other concerns the public might have.

The issue of a second tower  initially was raised not by the commissioners, but cellphone users’ complaints about dropped calls in Hay Beach and the Rams, Mr. Mooney said when he arrived at a January meeting.

Tonight’s meeting gets under way at 7:30 p.m. and other highlights include the swearing in of three new chiefs.

 

j.lane@sireporter.com