By Eric Jankiewicz

Laurelton residents and officials have stopped the metal giant.

Residents and area officials celebrated their victory over Verizon’s plans to install a 60-foot cell-phone tower on 229th Street and Merrick Boulevard Tuesday. The company claimed that the tower was needed to provide reliable service for its customers in the New York City area, but residents complained that the tower would ruin the character of the neighborhood.

Some even worried that radiation from the tower would cause cancer, but there is no research to support this claim. According to the American Cancer Association’s website, “there is very little evidence to support” the notion that living or working near cellphone towers might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems.

“This is a community that stands together,” said Franck Joseph, a spokesman for Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). “It wasn’t about fighting a corporation, it was about challenging them to be better neighbors.”

But Dwight Johnson, the president of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, warned that the struggle might not be over.

“We still have to be vigilant,” he said, “and see what comes next.”

While Verizon backed off from the plans for the tower, there still might be tower installations in the future, Joseph said.

The company, he said, is looking for other options in the area and it might choose to install smaller, less obtrusive towers.

More than 10 years ago, the area was rezoned to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood in a move to prevent developments like cell phone towers from being installed. Community Board 13 also weighed in on the issue and before the tower was defeated, the board recommended to the Board of Standards and Appeals that the tower proposal be rejected.

Verizon did not respond to requests for comment, but David Samberg, a spokesman for the wireless company, previously said the company “follows, and sometimes exceeds, all local, state and federal guidelines.”

“We will do whatever necessary to prevent this from happening,” Community Board 13 member Bess DeBetham said at the time. “Neighbors will come out when the community board has to vote on this issue.”

Since 2013, Verizon has invested more than $400 million in network enhancements in the city.

“This one was going to be in the heart of our community,” Joseph said. And DeBetham noted that there are 14-16 “monster” towers already in the area.

“A lot of marginalized communities, many of color, are taken advantage of,” Joseph said

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