Homeowners cite health risks for unwanted cell antennas

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HUNTINGTON BAY -

A plan to install 16 pole-mounted cellular antennas has drawn the ire of homeowners in Huntington Bay.

One of the poles right outside Pat Regan's home could soon be getting a cell antenna box installed on it.

"We can't stop progress, I realize that," Regan says. "But there have to be safer ways to get this service into our houses and into our businesses."

The village is considering an application by Verizon and Crown Castle to install what are called DAS nodes -- antenna systems -- on 16 utility poles within the village to boost cell signal strength in areas with poor or no reception. Homeowners say they don't want them, citing concerns over potential health risks.

"There is the potential for long-term cellular damage as shown by the research coming out now," says Melanie Prior.

There was a packed meeting about the proposal in October. And on Thursday night, more than 100 people packed the Halesite Fire Department for another public hearing.

"I believe that is against our constitutional right to be informed if there is something that is going to be harmful to us," says Susan Foete, of Huntington Bay.

Earlier video coverage

Federal law allows telecommunications companies to install the antennas along public roads, despite local opposition. But some areas are getting creative. In Burlington, Massachusetts, Verizon pulled its application to install small cellular wireless boosters after the local government said the company would be required to pay for annual inspections. Other areas may now be looking to try and do something similar.

News 12 reached out to Verizon about the proposal and was told that Crown Castle was the lead on the project. News 12 was unable to reach anyone from Crown Castle.

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