Towers antennas in limbo

By Howard Koplowitz

The city Board of Standards and Appeals temporarily dismissed an application last week to renew the permit for some 250 antennas that sit atop North Shore Towers until getting further information from the Floral Park co-op.

The antennas, mainly satellite and radio towers, are a contentious issue for North Shore Towers residents, who are concerned about possible radiation. The first antennas were installed nearly 20 years ago.

“I think the decision was the right decision,” said Herbert Cooper, a member of the Floral Park co-op's board of directors, who was leading the fight against the antennas.

He said North Shore Towers signed the permit application from Continental Communications, the company to which its leases its rooftops, although the co-op did not agree with it.

“Originally, we signed the permit because there was a section that said 'owner,' ” Cooper said. “It was our understanding that we had to sign that we are the owner.”

But the co-op also attached a letter to the permit saying it wanted to withdraw its signature.

Erik Palatnik, the attorney representing Continental Communications, could not be reached for comment because he is on vacation, according to a woman in his office.

Cooper said North Shore Towers has since hired an engineer, who is expected to inspect the rooftops next month. He said there were indications that the approximately 250-300 antennas currently on the roof are more than what is allowed, which Continental Communications.

The inspection will also determine whether there is excess radiation from the antennas, he said.

“Our purpose is to make sure that it is safe for our residents and safe for our community and because we want to make an accurate inventory of the antennas there are on the roof,” Cooper said. “In 20 years, there have been no tests done by the lessee.”

Cooper said there have been no reports of anyone in the upper floors of the three 33-story towers feeling ill from the antennas, but he said the residents are still concerned.

“They look up and they see antennas and now they're worried,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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