The "cell-out" of Manhasset Isle continues. During Thursday night's monthly meeting of the Village of Manorhaven's Board of Trustees, tempers flared even though Mayor Michael T. Meehan said that a stop-work order against AG Towers remains in effect.
"I don't have the power to revoke the permit," said Meehan in response to comments made by residents over the past few months. "You may think I do, but I don't."
The mayor added that the village has cleared up debris at the site on Pequot Avenue.
Village Attorney Gerard Terry asked the more than 20 residents in attendance, "If the village had the ability, don't you think it would have been done already?"
A letter to Manorhaven residents from the mayor was distributed at the meeting. It reported that the Village Superintendent of Buildings, David Mammina, issued a new notice to AG Towers stating that independent survey results indicate that "the structure was not built in the location approved by our Village Zoning Board."
"There were vast discrepancies between their surveyor and our surveyor," Mammina explained. He also said it would be prudent for the village to test the tower's concrete foundations through standard stress tests and that it would be money well spent to further analyze the situation. The testing will be conducted in the near future and will presumably addressed by the board at its next meeting.
Terry emphasized that residents have every right to question the board about recent developments pertaining to the cell tower, but said they are doing what they legally can. "By now there should be some level of comfort, if that's the word, on the part of the neighbors with respect to their observations," Terry said.
Some residents have voiced their feelings that the board hasn't been forthcoming about the cell tower.
"There hasn't been a response to my concern that the tower was approved for the G-1 zone and Pequot is in the G-2 zone," said Vicki Spielman, a resident who is opposed to the Verizon cell tower. "The G-2 zone, specifies that the owner must be a government entity. AG Towers is a commercial operation." Spielman requested a copy of the legal opinion reported by Lynn, Gartner & Dunne — the law firm Manorhaven hired to investigate legal options — from the board.
Although discretion may or may not be the better part of valor, Terry said that it might not be prudent to reveal the village's legal strategies. He also said that residents "shouldn't presuppose that the lawyers haven't been doing anything."
No one knows what will happen next, but as Meehan's letter states, "It is strictly up to the applicant how it will proceed. If it intends to return to the Zoning Board to seek further relief, the hearing will be publicized as required by law and will be open to the public."
In other words, Manorhaven residents should stay alert and read public notices because as Giovanna Giunta, a leader in the opposition to the cell tower, said, "AG Towers will most probably apply for another variance. Therefore, we must be more vigilant than ever."