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Cell Tower On Front Lawn Stuns Long Island Couple

Town Of Brookhaven Reads NextG Networks The Riot Act
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A partially constructed cell tower is seen on Lori and Michael DiMarco's Lawn - Mount Sinai, NY - Jan 31, 2011 - Photo: Lori DiMarco

A partially constructed cell tower is seen on Lori and Michael DiMarco’s Lawn – Mount Sinai, NY – Jan 31, 2011 – Photo: Lori DiMarco

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BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — Imagine coming home and suddenly finding a cell phone tower on your property.

It happened to a Brookhaven family.

And as CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, now town officials want the company to tear it down or they say they’ll do it themselves.

It may look like a flagpole, but it’s not. It’s a tower for cellular transmission. You would think you couldn’t put something like this up on someone’s property without their permission.

But that’s exactly what happened.

The company that did this is called “Next G Networks.” And homeowner Michael DiMarco and his wife, Lori, said workers just showed up and started digging.

Shock could not even describe Lori DiMarco’s reaction when she came home a few weeks ago to find the 40-foot cell tower on her front lawn.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall with Lori DiMarco

“[It's] somewhat traumatic because we’re afraid of what the emissions are,” DiMarco told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.

DiMarco said prior to the tower going up, she saw workers measuring. But she said the men and women lied to her, claiming they were with the town and were putting up a light post.

“This kind of corporate arrogance I’ve never seen before. It’s corporate arrogance and construction by ambush,” Brookhaven Highway Supervisor John Rouse told Guzman.

The streets of Brookhaven are Rouse’s business. To say he’s furious with NextG Networks is an understatement.

In a statement, Robert Delsman, general counsel of NextG Networks, said: “NextG’s pole installation is in the public way, not a resident’s ‘front lawn’ …NextG’s installations in Brookhaven were anything but surreptitious or a surprise…NextG reasonably (acted) in good faith…”

“They have 10 days to remove that pole, otherwise we will do it for them and we will be charging them for the removal,” Rouse said.

This is not over yet. The Brookhaven highway supervisor said they found out NextG has put up nine other towers that may also have to be taken down.

NextG Networks said if their workers lied about what they were doing, that was wrong, but also said it applied for the permit in 2009 and heard no response from the town. The company believed the town did not require permits, so it constructed the tower.

Do you agree with the highway supervisor? Is this construction by ambush? Tell us in the comments section below.

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