Plandome Heights approves law restricting cell tower construction

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Village of Plandome Heights trustees approved a law Monday restricting the construction of telecommunications towers and antennas in the village.

Originally discussed at the June 5 meeting, the resolution was tabled while trustees waited for a response from the Nassau County Planning Commission. Village Attorney Christopher Prior said the commission had responded without comment, allowing the village to go forward.

Annual fees to the village will be required for both towers and antennas. The law states that before a telecommunication company can build cellphone infrastructure, it must attend a hearing with the village board to obtain a permit and provide evidence of an existing need in the desired location.

According to the new law, no antenna or tower will be constructed or altered without a special exception permit from the village.

Applicants for new construction of telecommunications infrastructure will be required to prove that the antenna will not interfere with local radio and television service, and no towers will be artificially illuminated or house strobe lights. Towers must also be designed to blend into their surroundings.

A maximum height for towers is also set by the law at 50 feet, and ground elevation may not be changed to increase the height. The base cannot occupy more than 500 square feet, and towers are not allowed closer to each other than a quarter mile.

Without a law in place, telecommunication companies have more leeway to make the claim for the right to install infrastructure, Prior said.

Many villages have approved similar laws after ExteNet Systems Inc., an Illinois-based company that builds cellphone infrastructure for providers, contacted the Town of North Hempstead about installing 66 nodes in the town. No formal applications have been submitted to the town, however.

“It makes sense to at least put ourselves in a similar position to the neighboring villages,” Prior said in June.

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