By Jeremy Walsh
Plans for a controversial 25-foot cell phone tower on the roof of a Maspeth home have been shelved while the company and the property owner consider a less controversial alternative.
Joseph Wroblewski, the property owner and proprietor of Frank's Deli, said Omnipoint Communications has suggested instead installing a pair of 2-foot-tall antennas and one 6-foot-tall antenna on the roof of the house at 53-20 72nd Place instead of the flagpole-like tower originally planned.
In a letter to the city Board of Standards and Appeals Aug. 4, Omnipoint attorneys asked for a final, three-month adjournment of the application, state Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) said.
It was the fourth time the proposal has been postponed since the original hearing in January.
“I think this new postponement means that Omnipoint is getting the message about our vigorous opposition to their proposal,” Markey said, noting she was eager to hear about the proposed redesign.
Wroblewski, who drew heavy criticism from the community after he signed a contract with Omnipoint last year, said he no longer wants a cell phone antenna atop his building and has asked the company to release him from his obligation.
“I grew up with these people my whole life,” he said of his neighbors. “I don't want to see them mad.”
But he said Omnipoint has too much invested in the project to pull out, noting the company is trying to lessen the visual impact of the structure.
“I guess they're trying their best,” he said. “But I'm not going to win here. It's a no-win situation.”
Gary Giordano, Community Board 5 district manager, had mixed feelings about the new proposal.
“I would have two concerns,” he said. “One is that it would probably be more weight on the roof. And would the radiation levels be as low as we were informed they were with the radio antenna disguised as a flagpole? The good part of it is that if they are permitted to do it, visually it's not so overwhelming.”
Giordano was critical of the old proposal.
“That tall a structure on top of a residential roof in an area where nothing is nearly as tall, it makes people very uneasy,” he said.
Whether the new, three-antenna plan will make it to the BSA was unclear. Wroblewski said nothing has been finalized.
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