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Residents angered by cell facility placement in Hewlett Neck

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Hewlett Neck and Woodsburgh village residents have expressed safety concerns over the potential building of a cell facility. The Concerned Citizens for a Safer 5 Towns group is urging that people attend the Dec. 19 public hearing.

Woodsburgh resident Dr. Martin Kessler shared his concerns with the radiation at the June 19 Hewlett Neck board of trustees meeting. He sent his statement to the Herald in an email. “The truth is, if you’re close to high intensity microwave radiation, the differential measurements make no difference,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter if it is 12 ft, 25 ft, 30 or 41 feet away, it is still constant unrelenting radiation if you’re close to it.” 

A full page advertisement addressing the Concerned Citizens’ issues was on page 7 of the Dec. 5-11 Herald. “We hope that they decide to move this to a location that wouldn’t potentially affect anyone’s health,” he said. “It’s already been moved four times.” Kessler added that the proposed location of the system has changed from three different addresses on Hewlett Neck Road, based on public records.

The Houston-based company Crown Castle originally submitted an application to build what is known as a distributed antenna system in Hewlett Neck in June 2017. Crown Castle is the largest provider of shared communications infrastructure, and responsible for more than 40,000 cell towers and roughly 70,000 route miles of fiber across the country. The system can be built upon an existing utility pole and is able to provide 5G wireless service. 

The initial application had two systems being built near the entrance of the Keystone Yacht Club in Woodmere and on Hewlett Neck Road. The system was installed near the yacht club in December of 2018. The latest proposal calls for the second facility to be built at 140 Woodmere Blvd. South, located on the border of Hewlett Neck and Woodsburgh; the subject of the public hearing. If the proposal is approved at the hearing, it will then need approval from Nassau County since the land belongs to the county.

“It’s basically to provide wireless service,” Crown Castle attorney Robert Gaudioso said. “Crown Castle is considered a neutral host, meaning they don’t actually provide the wireless service. They build the infrastructure to be able to have wireless service from federally licensed carriers which in this case, Verizon Wireless is providing cell phone service.” 

The system includes the building of a 24-inch antenna on top of the existing utility pole that would emit radio frequency radiation. Despite this, according to Ana Rua, government affair manager for Crown Castle NY, the Federal Communications Commission has said the system does not pose any immediate health dangers. “This research is subject to constant review by government agencies and the FCC has established RF emission guidelines for all communications equipment,” Rua stated in an email. “The scientific and health communities have all come to the same general conclusion--there are no established health hazards from exposure to RF emissions within the established FCC guidelines.”

Kessler added that he still has his safety concerns despite what the FCC said. “I can sight you probably 25 drugs in my career that were deemed federally safe by the scientific data of that finally after several years had to be taken off the market due to causing serious illnesses, side effects or even death,” he said. “The real truth is the FCC doesn’t really know.” 

Hewlett Neck resident Naomi Morse added that not only does she have safety concerns; she also has concerns about the location of the system. “This is a major concern for the health, welfare and safety of my community,” Morse said. “The question shouldn’t be what street this should be placed, it shouldn’t be placed anywhere here.” 

The Thursday, Dec. 19 public hearing will be held at 8 p.m., in Village Hall at 30 Piermont Ave. in Hewlett.