Plaza eyes cell nodes and telecommunication regulations

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Great Neck Plaza officials hope to have a law to regulate cell nodes to the extent that they can. (Photo from Google Maps)
Great Neck Plaza officials hope to have a law to regulate cell nodes to the extent that they can. (Photo from Google Maps)

The Village of Great Neck Plaza introduced legislation to update their laws on telecommunication towers, antennas and other facilities on Wednesday night, although there are no active applications at this time.

Mayor Jean Celender described the proposal as aiming to “get ahead” and “be proactive” as new technologies like small cell nodes emerge to support fifth generation cellular networks, also known as 5G.

“We need to have additional provisions so that we can, to the extent that we are able, review and regulate these types of installations and have a local law that does so within the parameters of what the FCC will allow,” Celender said. “They are basically writing these so tightly serving the telecommunications industry.”

The move comes as villages across the North Shore grapple with how to regulate cell nodes and emerging technologies, including Lake Success – just a few miles south of Great Neck Plaza.

Its residents have spoken out strongly against a proposal by ExteNet to install several nodes throughout their village over concerns about potential health hazards, lowered property values and unpleasant aesthetics.

Providers have argued that cell nodes offer greater coverage, allow networks to meet increased demand and would not grossly impact the character of villages.

Celender also said that she had received some calls from people who believed there was a cell tower application – which isn’t the case here.

“This is us being proactive and they were happy to hear that,” Celender said.

Richard Gabriele, the village attorney, said this is the first step in the process. They will likely get comments from the village’s consultant, he said, before a more finalized proposal is eventually forwarded to the Nassau County Planning Commission.

Officials hope the law will go into effect by January.

In unrelated village business, trustees also introduced a law that would allow the village to exceed the state-imposed tax cap in case it was necessary.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. at 2 Gussack Plaza.

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