The Village of Williston Park Board of Trustees will continue a public hearing on Monday, May 15, regarding Verizon Wireless’ proposal to construct, operate and maintain a public utility wireless communication facility on a property located at 270-274 Hillside Ave.
Presenting at the first hearing on March 20, a decision on the application was tabled by the village board. Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said at that meeting that the village may pass along the application to their engineers for another opinion, and to assist village building inspector Kerry Collins in the process.
According to Collins, the village is primarily looking into the noise level that would be generated from the facility, and are anticipating more information to come forward at a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing.
Verizon Wireless is requesting a special exception permit to construct the facility, as their representing attorney Denise Vista, Esq. from Amato Law Group said Verizon is currently experiencing a serious service deficiency at the property.
“Once it is activated, those deficiencies will be eliminated,” Vista said.
Verizon is proposing building the facility on top of the two-story building on Hillside Avenue, which consists of retail shops on the first floor and offices on the second floor. The facility would be located entirely on the rooftop of the building, and would be completely concealed within three penthouse-type enclosures. All three eight-foot enclosures bring the total height of the building to about 42 feet, 11 inches. The proposed facility would hook up with facilities in Williston Park and Searingtown, as Martin Lavin, a radio frequency engineering consultant with New C Squared Systems LLC, said in March that those two existing locations have exhausted their capacity.
Verizon reps have said that this project is different than a project in 2010, when a construction project at a Verizon building at 13th Avenue in Mineola, which sits on the border with Garden City Village property, had operating generators that caused numerous residents to complain about high noise levels. Eventually becoming a legal issue by residents of 13th Avenue that was brought to the New York State Supreme Court, Verizon was ordered to fix the problem of excessive noises, as well as fumes being expelled from the building.
According to David Weissmann, public relations manager of Verizon’s northeast market, there was a settlement in the legal case and the issue was resolved whereby the Verizon Wireless building in Mineola/Garden City is in compliance with all applicable governmental regulations.
Both Weissmann and Vista have said there is no comparison to be made between the two separate instances.
“The two matters are very different,” Weissmann said. “The Mineola matter stemmed from, among other things, the noise generated from a 600 kilowatt (kW) generator, which was required to provide back-up power to an entire commercial building, and a temporary HVAC unit located at the rear of the building, to cool the building during the replacement of the building’s permanent HVAC system.”
Weissmann also explained that the proposed rooftop wireless facility in Williston Park includes a 12 kW back-up generator, which would only be used to power the wireless facility in the event of a power failure, and fully complies with the Village of Williston Park’s noise ordinance. Additionally, no HVAC units are proposed, as they are not needed for this facility.
“We are working closely with the Village of Williston Park to secure the necessary approvals for the cell site, which upon completion, will provide needed coverage and capacity to serve our customers including first responders, in the community,” Weissmann said. “The site will comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations.”
The noise from the generator of the facility proposed in Williston Park was said by Vista to only be utilized in times of emergency, outside of it being run once a week for testing purposes.
Erin Echevarria, a project manager at Hauppague-based VHB Engineering, said her represented firm prepared an acoustical study for the proposed generator and conducted 24-hour monitoring to establish ambient noise levels in the surrounding area. The results were that the ambient noise level generated in that area at night is 39 decibels and the highest potential noise coming from the proposed site would be 40 decibels at any given time.
“You’re more likely to hear any noise at night…its only a one decibel level difference, which is not perceptible to the human ear,” Echevarria said.
According to Echevarria, the ambient noise and site noise combined would result to 42 decibels at the maximum, and the permitted decibel level within the village is 70.