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Cell tower plan moving forward

JULIE LANE PHOTO Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski said he’ll vote for a proposal expected to come before the Board of Commissioners at the June 23 meeting to have a tower built at the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski said he’ll vote for a proposal expected to come before the Board of Commissioners at the June 23 meeting to have a tower built at the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane.

The  Board of Fire Commissioners is getting closer to recommending a cell tower at the Manhanset Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane.

Chairman Keith Clark said Monday night he will invite Justin Saper of Deer Park-based Elite Towers to revisit the site with him this month to discuss placement of the tower. Mr. Clark will also call for a vote of his fellow commissioners at the June 23 meeting to ask the town for a special permit to build the tower.

That would send the issue to the Zoning Board of Appeals, but with the commissioners making a case for improved communications among firefighters, it’s unlikely to face a turndown. The ZBA could entertain concerns voiced by some neighbors by stipulating how the tower would look and how peripheral “mechanicals” would be shielded from public view.
Elite has called for a tower that would be 120 feet or less in height.

The Fire District would stand to gain about $100,000 from an up front fee from the company constructing the tower and about $100,000 annually, paid in monthly installments, from a company providing cell phone service.

Commissioner Larry Lechmanski shared information from Icom, a company that sells radios to departments, about communication needs on Shelter Island. Icom, a consultant to both Southold and Suffolk County as they move to convert from low to high band service, told Mr. Lechmanski that low band paging will be around for the foreseeable future.

The Southold and Suffolk County Police departments have agreed not to make a changeover until both are ready, and the cost of conversion is too high for Suffolk County to embrace quickly, he said.

Shelter Island commissioners agreed to spend $9,489 to provide a console at the Heights Firehouse that will be compatible with the unit being used at the Center Firehouse. When a conversion to high band service is necessary, Mr. Lechmanski said he was able to determine that it would cost $2,000 for each of those units to be converted to handle the high band calls.