Board Split on Iacono Antennas

A plan by AT&T to install cellphone antennas on the wind turbine at Iacono Farm in East Hampton has been tentatively rejected by members of the town planning board.

A sharply divided board voted 4-3 on Sept.13 that the applicant must submit a final environmental impact statement, all but ensuring the plan’s defeat. Job Potter, Randy Parsons, Kathleen Cunningham, and Patti Leber voted for an E.I.S., citing the fact that the site is considered an avoidance area for such development, as well as concern for the “fall zone” of the tower. Without the antennas, the wind turbine, which is already built, is considered an extension of normal farming structures.

The majority also expressed concern that Iacono’s 11 acres are privately held and could someday be subdivided and taken out of farm use, leaving the town with a cell tower the board had not wanted.

“This is an area of scenic statewide significance,” Ms. Leber said before the vote.

Ian Calder-Piedmonte disagreed. “I don’t see how we can find either that it has a big impact on current land use or on the aesthetics of the area,” he said. Diana Weir and Nancy Keeshan agreed with him.

John Huber, representing AT&T, has mentioned several times during the over-21-month-long site plan process, that the utility believes the town would be on shaky legal ground if it rejects the plan, citing federal law covering cellphone towers.

A final vote will be taken when and if the impact statement is received.