The pre-submission applications for two proposed cellphone towers were adopted by the Southampton Town Planning Board last week, a move that allows the applicants to file formal site plans for review by the town.
The finalization of the pre-submission reports for the East Quogue and Bridgehampton cell towers gives the applicants—T-Mobile in East Quogue and AT&T in Bridgehampton—up to one year to file formal applications that address the concerns outlined in reports prepared by the Planning Board. Those reports take into account input from community members, advice from Suffolk County officials and the recommendations of engineers.
If they fail to file within the next 12 months, the applicants must either seek a one-year extension or begin the pre-application process over again.
The first application is a petition by T-Mobile to build a 100-foot-tall monopole tower behind the East Quogue Fire Department headquarters on Montauk Highway. The project, which many in East Quogue oppose, has the support of the East Quogue Fire District. If the tower is built, fire district officials would collect rent from T-Mobile but, more important, be allowed to attach their own emergency communication antenna to the tower. Fire officials have said that the most economical option to solve blackout issues in the hamlet is to allow T-Mobile to build its tower.
Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty said this week that T-Mobile will have to tweak its proposal—namely, ask to build a shorter tower because the 100-foot-tall version does not meet the town’s “fall zone” requirements—for it to have a chance of securing approval.
“The project certainly needs to be modified,” Mr. Finnerty said. “They will need to shorten the tower because the primary problem is the fall zone.”
East Quogue resident Don Bouchard, who has opposed the tower since it was first proposed early last year, said he is encouraged that the Planning Board is not rubber-stamping the application.
“I am very pleased with how seriously the Planning Board is taking this application,” Mr. Bouchard said. “They took a long time last week to explain how the tower does not meet the town codes. We are eager to get a response from the fire district about how they feel about this and how they plan to move forward.”
On Monday, East Quogue Fire Commissioner Allyn Jackson declined to comment on the application.
The second application calls for the installation of a 120-foot-tall cellphone tower on a quarter-acre lot on Foster Avenue in Bridgehampton. The land on which AT&T hopes to build its tower is zoned light industrial.
According to Mr. Finnerty, opposition to this tower is much less as compared to the East Quogue application, primarily because it would be erected in an industrial section of Bridgehampton. He added that he does not foresee a problem with the application moving forward.