Homeowner Fights AT&T Cell Phone Antenna on Roof

Long Beach penthouse owner Jennifer Bambino says she's concerned about a cell phone antenna being built directly above her apartment

Seven years ago, Jennifer Bambino bought her penthouse apartment at Granada Towers in Long Beach, N.Y. for the views and the rooftop space right outside her living room. But now, new cellphone antennas being built on the roof right above her apartment threaten to ruin what she loves about her home.

"It's very scary to walk outside and see this right over my head," said Bambino. "They are literally right above my living room."

Bambino is concerned because along with the cellphone antennas came warnings that the radio frequency emitted could be hazardous to one's health. There's also the question of structural soundness: Bambino says cracks in the ceiling and wall appeared after the antennas were installed.

Bambino says she was never asked for permission to build the antennas above her home and was never notified it would happen. She was also not aware that AT&T, the cellphone company that owns the antennas, were petitioning the zoning board of Long Beach to put them there permanently.

"It's common decency," she said. "If something like this will dramatically affect my home, I should have been notified. To me, it's not right."

Before AT&T moved the antennas to Bambino's roof, the antennas were located on the outside parapets of the historic building. Bambino was not bothered because they faced the streets. Now the antennas radiate directly into her apartment.

According to Marc Schneider, an attorney who represents the condo board at Granada Towers, because the antennas were moved to a common space -- the building's roof -- special permission was not required.

"The condominium board took Ms. Bambino's complaints very seriously," said Schneider. "They ordered a study when health issues were brought up, and the study determined the RF frequency would be within what is legally permitted."

Bambino's attorney, Andrew Campanelli, will urge the city zoning board to not allow AT&T to keep the antennas in their new position.

"The only reason they moved it supposedly was to allow for repairs. So what's to stop them from simply putting them back?" said Campanelli. "If they can't prove that putting them back is impossible, then the board legally has no authority to grant the application."

The city of Long Beach zoning board will hold a hearing Wednesday night at City Hall. But a decision is not expected until next month.

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