Residents who live near an open space on the border of Old Field and Setauket have noticed something new popping up, and it’s not flowers.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, signs appeared in front of houses in the vicinity of Kaltenborn Commons, a small park located at the intersection of Old Field Road and Quaker Path, protesting a cellphone tower proposed for the location by the Village of Old Field. The signs read: “Save Kaltenborn Commons, say no to cell tower and equipment corral.”
Charles Catania, who lives across from the commons, said he wasn’t sure who put the signs up, but he didn’t mind that there was one in front of his house.
“I think they should be all around,” he said. “I’m in favor of seeing the signs because I don’t think most people are really aware — even to this date — I don’t think most people are aware of what’s going on.”
Old Field and Setauket residents who live near the commons attended multiple Old Field village meetings this year to express their concerns over the installation of a cellphone tower in the open space. Many have cited concerns about the aesthetics of the tower, a potential decrease in real estate values and possible negative health effects.
Catania said he and his wife, Kathleen, attended the meetings in order to understand why the village trustees would want to install a tower at the location that he said many children play in and residents bring their miniature horses to. While the couple had planned to add an extension to their home, he said the plans are on hold until they find out if a tower will be erected or not.
“It’s a blight on this park,” Catania said. “I just can’t imagine that as a gateway to Old Field or anywhere, that they would want this kind of a structure on this park.”
“It’s a blight on this park. I just can’t imagine that as a gateway to Old Field or anywhere, that they would want this kind of a structure on this park.”
— Charles Catania
Former board member John Von Lintig, who lives directly across from the park, presented a petition Feb. 13 signed by 100 residents who were against the installation of the cell tower.
“The opposition of the cellphone tower, or pole as you call it, is primarily based on aesthetic reasons, which tie very closely to the impact on real estate immediately in the vicinity of the tower,” Von Lintig said at the February meeting.
After the appearance of the signs, Von Lintig said in an email that he found that opposition to the tower has grown stronger.
While a vote to approve signing a lease with telecommunications tower site developer Elite Towers LP was tabled in February until new trustees were voted in, no vote has been taken since Bruce Feller and Tom Pirro were sworn in this April. Mayor Michael Levine said the vote could possibly take place at the June 12 meeting, but the village did not confirm a date at press time.
Tanya Negron, founder of Elite Towers, said at a Jan. 9 meeting that the proposed tower would have a 50-by-50-foot footprint. A stealth concealment pole, the slim structure will have cellphone carrier antennae inside, and the only antennae that would be outside are for emergency agencies, such as the fire department, if requested. Negron said no trees will be removed, and the pole will be centralized within the property and set back from the road 132 feet on the west, 130 feet on the east and 160 feet to the south.
Catania said he hopes trustees will sit in the park to understand its beauty before voting.
“Think of what Old Field stands for,” he said. “Think about what you’re always defending in Old Field with regard to it being such a beautiful village and maintaining that character of a village. And think of the families that are surrounding the park and how this cell tower can impact everyone in Old Field.”