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No hearing on approved cell tower

Residents in the Clearview section of Bayside are outraged over a cell phone tower, which is being put up in their neighborhood with no public notice.
The freestanding tower is behind a line of stores on the north side of 35th Avenue between 205th and 206th Streets in Bayside. It stands roughly 60 feet tall.
Jerry Iannece, the former chair of Community Board 11 (CB11) which covers the area is flabbergasted. “I got calls from the heads of some nearby civic associations and went down to view the construction. It’s an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
According to the city’s zoning rules, communication towers in residential districts were required to get a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), an appointed board. The process requires that such projects are brought before community boards for review under the Uniform Land Use Procedure.
Such towers are allowed “as of right” in commercial districts. The location is in the midst of a residential zone, but there is a 100 foot-deep “commercial overlay” at that spot.
According to Iannece, the BSA decided to consider the proposed location, within 50 feet of a single family home, as a commercial district, and “punted” to the Department of Buildings, which issued a permit without any public notice.
“It’s nonsensical,” Iannece said. “The underlying zoning is residential; the purpose of a commercial overlay is to provide a benefit for the convenience of local residents, without destroying their neighborhood.”
What worries him even more is the ease of access to the electrical equipment on the roof of the store, which connects to the tower by massive cables. “There’s a caged ladder with a security cover, but it’s surrounded by dumpsters and bales of cardboard - even a little kid could get up there,” he said.
Susan Seinfeld, the District Manager of CB 11 confirmed that towers on similar commercial overlays had been brought before the board for review. “We got them to provide better security,” she recalled, adding, “I just don’t understand this.”
Iannece has sent a letter, co-signed by Steve Newman, the current CB11 chair, to authorities and civic leaders, demanding that the installation be halted and subject to review. In the letter, he brands the equipment an “attractive nuisance,” a term with legal significance which would require extra security.
An inspection of the site, on Monday, March 24, revealed that the sheet metal security cover designed to prevent unauthorized persons from climbing the OSHA-approved ladder was secured not with a lock, but with a nylon tie which was merely wrapped around the locking hasp.
“If it wasn’t so perilous, it would be a joke,” Iannece said.

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