Residents and Village of Manorhaven Board of Trustees are continuing to fight against a 125-foot cell tower, located at 41 Pequot Avenue in Manhasset Isle, from becoming operational.
A lawsuit was filed in August by Village Attorney Charles J. Casolaro in Nassau County State Supreme Court to prevent the tower from moving forward. The former board of trustees approved the project in 2008 with much opposition from residents who said, “Not in my backyard.”
Several expressed concerned that the cell tower can pose health dangers from radiation, and if it were to remain, it would remain an eyesore in the neighborhood, lowering home values. The concerns, and the ongoing battle, were brought up at a recent Village of Manorhaven Board of Trustees meeting.
Casolaro said he could not comment in detail about the ongoing litigation against AG Towers.
“All I can say is that it is going very well in court,” he said. “There has been a flurry of activity in September in Federal Court and we hope to win.”
Village Mayor Giovanna Giunta had organized protests against the cell tower in March, bringing out hundreds of residents. Giunta and neighbors also lobbied several lawmakers to put a halt to the project.
“As elected mayor, voted in with the overwhelming support of the residents, I am obligated to ensure the conformity and preservation of village code and laws,” Giunta said.
“I am fighting for the rights of the residents, holding their representatives accountable and preserving the freedoms which the law and the constitution guaranties," she added. "My recently-approved filing of a lawsuit by the village against AG Towers and former mayor [Nicholas Capozzi] represents my efforts to scrutinize and investigate both the actions and the motives of those who have acted on behalf of the village.”
As others have expressed, Giunta feels the tower should be moved to a site that is not in a residential area.
The lawsuit "was initiated with the purpose of exposing the illegality of the term of the lease extended,” Giunta said. “The 50-year lease extension was executed without the approval of the board and the lawsuit seeks to obtain a declaratory judgment to limit the term of the lease to the period approved by the board of trustees at the time [a period of five years]. I am pursuing this action on behalf of my constituents and village residents.”
In March, the Village of Manorhaven, under the previous administration and Deputy Mayor John DiLeo, sent a letter to AG Towers, urging the company to find an alternative site for a controversial cell tower, to no avail. In June, Giunta defeated DiLeo in the race for village mayor.
An attempt was made to contact AG Towers, but received no response.