TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, New York, September 11
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Equipment installed without permission from the town board could become the subject of legal action by the Town of Huntington against Crown Castle NG East Inc. – an independent owner and operator of shared wireless infrastructure.
The action, unanimously approved by the town board last month, takes aim at 30 pieces of equipment installed five years ago by Crown Castle around East Northport, Greenlawn, Melville and other town utility poles in Huntington.
As of Monday, the town attorney had not yet filed a lawsuit against Crown Castle, according to A.J. Carter, town spokesman.
The equipment – described as cylinders with antennas on top – was put in place to “provide infrastructure” for the town and “increase cell phone coverage,” Fiona McKone, Crown Castle spokesperson, said.
Crown Castle maintains that it received permission to install the equipment by former Huntington Highway Superintendent William Naughton when he was still in office, Carter said.
However, while the town recognizes permission was given by Naughton, the Huntington Town Code says that certain equipment installed on public property owned by the town – such as the equipment in question – falls under cell tower regulations and therefore must be approved by the town board, which requires application fees and a public hearing.
According to Carter, this makes Naughton’s approval for naught.
“Crown Castle must do what we require all the other carriers, like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T [to do],” he said.
Carter said on Aug. 29 that Crown Castle was not willing to take the necessary steps required to meet town requirements.
When asked for comment on Monday, McKone said “[Crown Castle will] work with the town closely to resolve the matter.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills (Thursday, September 11, 2014; A5)