Z.B.A. Gives AT&T Its Okay

As expected, the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals voted on Friday to grant variances and a special permit for AT&T to install 12 antennas on a 44-foot-tall oil storage tank at the P.C. Schenck and Sons facility on Newtown Lane. The hearing had stretched over several months during which neighbors had voiced concern about noise and potential health impacts of radio frequency emissions. 

The board granted its approvals based on modifications the applicant agreed to make. Noise being the primary concern, the applicant agreed to both move the site of a concrete pad on which equipment cabinets are to be placed and include a 12-foot-high sound barrier around them.

Frank Newbold, the board’s chairman, said the board had concluded that the AT&T equipment and antennas would not have a significant environmental impact, which meant the applicant did not have to submit an analysis under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. He urged those interested to read a full summary of the proceedings prepared by Linda Riley, the village attorney, which is on file at Village Hall.

The variances and special permit also have been granted on two conditions. One is site plan approval from the design review board. The other is a demonstration, to the satisfaction of the village’s consulting engineer, Drew Bennett, that the actual noise levels after installation of the sound barrier are consistent with those predicted in a report from the applicant’s consultant Tectonic Engineering.

Benjamin Roberts, AT&T’s director of public affairs, said on Monday that he expected a building permit to be issued next month. Construction would begin in July and last four to five months.

The board also held several hearings on Friday, including one for Elizabeth and Julien Eisenstein of 10 Georgica Road seeking partial replacement of the foundation of a 1,018-square-foot, two-story garage that contains an apartment. The garage, which is sinking on one side, is considered nonconforming, said Elizabeth Schmid, an attorney representing the applicants, because it serves as a second residence on a single lot, which is now prohibited by the village code, although nonconforming structures are legal if they predate the code.

To that end, Ms. Schmid provided the board with an affidavit from Frank Tillinghast, a lifelong East Hampton resident, stating that he had visited the apartment as far back as 1947. “It was . . . constructed similarly to the house and I would guess that it was there for decades before I played there,” Mr. Tillinghast attested.

Tom Rosko, a contractor, told the board that the locust posts holding up the structure had rotted, causing one side to sink. The garage is to be lifted and made level, and a new foundation constructed. “It’s just a matter of correcting the existing situation so it doesn’t become hazardous to anyone to stay in there,” Mr. Rosko said. “It was like a funhouse,” Lys Marigold, the board’s vice chairwoman, said of a site visit.

 “We appreciated your affidavit,” Mr. Newbold told Ms. Schmid, calling it “a glimpse into old East Hampton.” The hearing was closed and a determination is expected at the board’s next meeting, on May 23.