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Cellphones Government Networking Wireless Networking

Long Island Town Enacts Tough Cell Tower Limits 310

crimeandpunishment writes "They're getting tougher on towers on Long Island. The town of Hempstead, NY has imposed some of the toughest cell phone tower restrictions in the country. The ordinance prohibits wireless equipment within 1,500 feet of homes, schools, day care centers, and houses of worship, unless the company can prove absolute need. A spokesman for Verizon says, 'It's not unheard of for towns to have issues, but this is extreme,' and says this makes 95 percent of the town off limits to future antenna construction." With internet access by 3G, 4G and WiMax getting ever more common, I suspect that not everyone in the town will appreciate blocking out the companies that provide it.
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Long Island Town Enacts Tough Cell Tower Limits

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  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:31AM (#33696326) Homepage
    Um, they have to spread them out so that the coverage is as close to 100% as possible. Limiting the land they can build in means the optimum coverage is likely far less...
  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:43AM (#33696376)

    I don't understand the purpose of these regulations at all. What difference does it make how close a tower is to a day care center or place of worship? Within 1,500 feet of homes? How do they expect to get cellular service at home, then? Hm.

    I have two guesses which aren't mutually exclusive. The first is that someone has bought into the hysteria that cell phones cause radiation damage and hence wants them far away from places where people gather or live. Second, that this is a sly attempt to create a monopoly for a provider. It'd be interesting to see if someone already satisfies these regulations. If we start seeing more extremely restrictive regulations like this, that would be an indication that someone is organizing local monopolies.

  • by Kristopeit, Mike D. ( 1900570 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:51AM (#33696424)
    um... democratic freedom voted in the council members that voted on behalf of their constituents who wanted to keep the corporations out, and you're arguing that the free market capitalist corporation has the right to move in on land against the land owners' wishes?

    go be a communist somewhere else.

  • Cancel their ass (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:56AM (#33696458)

    So if carriers still provide service there, it will be spotty, customers will complain, reputation suffers. Sounds like a place to *not* do business.

    The carriers should just pull out, and blackhole it. Add a new color to their coverage map for "we could work here, but the city government has its head up its ass"

    The cell carriers should cancel the accounts of the bozo city officials who supported this.

    Then the city can be a haven to the "get off of my yard" geezers.

  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Risha ( 999721 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:58AM (#33696470) Homepage
    There are often times when I wish to be less connected. However, nice of you to make the decision as to where and when for everyone around you, too.
  • by hockeyc ( 1675766 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @09:59AM (#33696472)
    From TFA:

    'Our position is we want to be more proactive.' said Jody Turk-Goldberg, co-founder of a civic group called 'Moms of Merrick,' which discounts pronouncements by groups like the American Cancer Society that conclude there is scant evidence that cell towers are a health hazard. 'We saw what the tobacco companies did years ago; everybody said smoking was safe,' she added

    You know those blasted scientists and the American Cancer Society, definitely in the pocket of "Big Cell Phone"

  • by spottedkangaroo ( 451692 ) * on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:08AM (#33696508) Homepage
    So then did the companies with existing towers lobby heavily for this so they can leverage their newly-created prime real estate?
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:20AM (#33696558) Journal
    If I were running a phone company, I would cut service completely to the town and issue a press release saying something like this:

    We at Evil Co. sympathise with the town's wish not to be bombarded with EM radiation. A it is clearly the will of the people that they not have these signals directed in their vicinity, we wish to respect their wishes, even at the cost of some profit. Unfortunately, complying with these new laws would require significantly increasing the power output of other towers to compensate, and so we are unable to continue to offer service without violating the intent and spirit, if not the letter, of this law. As we can not provide a service in this town, we are willing to waive early termination fees for any customers in the affected area, as a gesture of good will. We hope that they will enjoy their relaxed lifestyle, free from the burdens of modern technology.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:25AM (#33696584)
    Who cares? The people affected by this are the very people who voted for it. If their desire for better cellphone reception outweighs their dislike of ugly cell towers in a couple years, then they can vote differently next time. The decision to NOT build the towers is much more easily reversible than the decision to allow them.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:26AM (#33696588) Homepage

    "Homes, schools, day care centers, and houses of worship"? This sounds like they've confused cell towers with liquor stores.

    These kinds of distance-based restrictions are usually used as a way of banning something de facto when a higher law doesn't allow banning it de jure. Like a local law which bans past sex offenders from residing within 1000 feet of a school. Which has the (unintended?) side effect of preventing them from using the city's homeless shelters, all of which fall within that range.

  • by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:26AM (#33696590)
    Also, in order to communicate with the distant tower, the actual cell phone (the thing that delivers the most radiation to your head) must boost its power.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @10:30AM (#33696598) Homepage

    Mom? Is that you? Because everyone else I know leaves their cell phone on all the time.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @11:01AM (#33696762) Homepage

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my art teacher. I said the US Congress has banned incandescent bulbs effective 2012. He immediately pointed out that the law doesn't directly ban incandescents. It requires a 50% reduction in energy usage. I replied that's the same effect as a direct ban because no incandescent can meet that standard, so what's the difference? None.

    There's a big difference.

    The reason why the law makes an efficiency requirement is because it's not the bulbs themselves that are the concern, but the energy they use. Banning incandescent light bulbs specifically would allow them to be replaced with something even less efficient, if there's an alternative that's cheap and isn't technically an "incandescent light bulb". If that happened, the law would have had the opposite of the desired effect.

    By writing the law that way you don't mandate or exclude any technology. If an incandescent light bulb can be made to be efficient enough, that's just fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 2010 @11:22AM (#33696870)
    First car accident where they person can't call for help on their cell phone because there is no coverage, and they die. Let me post YOUR FUCKING comment to the news paper.


  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @11:31AM (#33696922)

    No that is included in the cost of the product. And since you save money with CFLs the tradeoff is pretty clear. You really should try the new ones, they have them working outdoors and in enclosed fixtures now.

  • by MoldySpore ( 1280634 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @11:32AM (#33696928)

    Honestly, this all comes down to how dumb people are. I'll give an example from where I grew up

    It was a relatively small town, but within 10-20 minutes of large cities here in New York. There is literally NO cell phone reception around the entire radius of the town. You have to drive at least 10-15 minutes to get cell reception. So Verizon (and at that time, CellularOne who was recently bought out by AT&T) wanted to put up a tower right in the middle of the town behind some barns and silos. Not visible from the road but if you tried hard enough you could see it.

    The town, who I knew from experience hated not having cell service, was concerned about property values dropping and how "bad the tower would look" when driving by...so Verizon proposed using one of the "camouflage" towers that looks like a pine tree. The town reviewed it, and STILL said no because it "didn't look enough like a tree". So Verizon came back and said "ok we will build the tower inside a silo. You won't be able to see it AT ALL. The reception will be reduced slightly because of it being enclosed, but you will still have service". Instead of approving it, they put it up for a vote, and the tower STILL voted it down over concerns of "radiation".

    Weeks later I remember hanging out with friends, whose fathers and mothers were on the town board, and others who had voted no, and hearing them and their kids bitch about the fact that there still wasn't cell reception, and blaming the cell companies for NOT PROVIDING A FEASIBLE SOLUTION!

    I think this happens more often than not around the country, where stupid backwards people who don't really know what they are talking about, wind up shooting town technological advances in favor of "oh that looks bad" or "oh i heard it does _______ which is bad" without knowing the facts, or understanding how important technology can be, especially in rural areas that have been without it. In this case, lack of cell phone reception and broadband internet kept many businesses and other things important for growth of a town or city out of the area because of the lack of available technology.

    It really amazes me at how resistant people are. I'd rather have my property value go down a little than be without cell reception or internet service in this day in age. It hurts more not to have it than it would to just grin and bear it for the good of advancement.

  • by Kilrah_il ( 1692978 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @12:34PM (#33697296)

    No, you are going at it all wrong. What you propose is based on the premises of logic, whilst the rules are based on politics (AKA votes-whoring and popularity). Since anyone with any reasonable amount of logic is not trying to be involved in the cesspool called politics, then it is obvious that the two domains are mutually exclusive and thus your post has no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

    And on a serious note: Too bad you are 100% correct. Not only is there no proof to the dangers of cellphone radiation, but also if there was any danger, then the correct course of action would be to put as many low-power towers as possible, as per your post. Sadly enough, the ones passing the rules don't deem it important enough to consult anyone who actually understand something in this issue.

  • by Digicrat ( 973598 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @01:00PM (#33697422)

    "The ordinance prohibits wireless equipment within 1,500 feet of homes, schools, day care centers, and houses of worship, unless the company can prove absolute need."

    Note the last part of that sentence from the summary. In essence, it seems to imply that their just requiring special building permits approved on a case-by-case basis for any new cell tower built in a potentially concerning place. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    At the very least, if the process for requesting permits for new towers becomes more cumbersome, perhaps the providers will look more closely at re-using/sharing existing towers in more elaborate ways. If not, we'll have cell towers on every block sooner or later (which isn't good for anybody).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 2010 @01:22PM (#33697534)

    Had the same issue with power plants in Arizona. During the summer...they can't produce enough power to run the AC...but heaven forbid you want to build more plants or ship in more expensive power from out of state. When you get outages and brownouts...these same people bitch/moan that more power is needed without the plants or raising their electric bills. When the solutions are there in plain view...not in my backyard and you better not obstruct my views either.

    The funniest part of this is the ones crying the loudest about the lack of service are the ones who don't want the plants/towers where they can be seen...even from Pluto.

    The same crap keeps happening in my town. Nobody wants to be able to see a cell tower on the horizon but then bitches about poor coverage. They also complain about needing more local businesses yet they tax the bejeezus out of anyone who dares to set up shop inside the town.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @04:01PM (#33698510) Journal

    >>>The energy is the issue

    Yeah but how much energy is saved when I have to make a special trip in my Car to carry the Burned-Out CFL to a special recycling center (due to mercury content). Benjamin Franklin has a saying: "Penny wise and pound foolish." This is the same deal where you're saving a few watts of power and then burning-up kilowatts on disposal costs.

    The incandescent would save more energy overall, because it can just be tossed with all the other garbage and doesnt need special (read: energy expensive) handling.

  • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @04:11PM (#33698574)

    Say what??? CFLs cost about ten times more than the Edison incadescent bulb. Also in my experience, almost none of them have lasted longer than the incandescents. They keep dying within 1-2 times the span of a regular bulb, thereby actually costing me MORE money to use, not less.

    Of course I know why they die so fast. I have enclosed fixtures.

    Am I supposed to go out and spend hundreds of dollars changing my home's fixtures from closed to open, just so I can save a few pennies with CFLs? That's bass-backwards. I have a better idea: Let's keep the incandescents because they aren't so damn fragile.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson