Property owner wants to remove ham radio towers from atop Islandia hotel
There is controversy about a plan to take down ham radio towers from an Islandia hotel that's set to become Long Island's first casino.
On top of the Island Marriott, the site where the controversial casino will be built, sits an antenna and amateur radio repeater used in emergency situations to help with communication. It has been there for nearly 30 years.
The property's new owner, Delaware North, wants to take down the repeater site due to what it calls safety and security concerns. The news is sparking outrage among amateur ham radio operators.
Town of Babylon Radio Officer John Melfi says the removal could have devastating effects on communications during an emergency or event. "If we lose this site, we're going to lose a major, major communication hub," he says.
In a statement, Delaware North told News 12, "We are not aware of any agreement that the previous hotel owner had in place to allow the antenna to be housed on the property and we will no longer permit the use of the equipment or access to the roof. The area needs to be secure due to safety and security concerns, so we have taken steps to limit access. We asked the leader of the amateur radio group who approached us to find another location for the antenna, and we offered our assistance in moving the equipment."
Melfi says moving the location could be costly and difficult, and adds that there aren't many other spots on Long Island to get a site that high with the coverage that they need.
The equipment is expected to be moved in February, but there is a petition to stop it.