July 05, 2006

Former Supervisor Offers Town Cell Tower Services

Cellular towers are often an issue of contention in communities. Residents usually come out in droves to oppose a new cell tower in their neighborhood. That's where Vincent Cannuscio of Beacon Wireless steps in.

Cannuscio, a former Southampton Town Supervisor, proposed to the Riverhead Town Board that rather than waiting for cellular companies to come to Riverhead to proposition for a new cell tower, the town should erect its own tower or lease town space for the location of cellular antennas.

The benefit is twofold, said Cannuscio. Erecting a tower would provide the town with another revenue stream and a co-location for town emergency services antennas.

Riverhead, said Cannuscio, could charge as much as $3,000 a month in rental fees to each of the five wireless carriers for either space on a new cell tower or on an existing town structure.

"I would provide the marketing," he said.

Cannuscio said he would seek out wireless companies to co-locate on either a new tower or town structure, such as a water tower.

As part of his marketing services, Cannuscio said he would map the town to determine gaps in cellular service and using that information, find suitable locations for the wireless providers.

In addition to marketing, Cannuscio would take care of all environmental work, surveying, engineering, electrical work, and landscaping associated with a new tower or co-location on a town-owned facility.

Cannuscio said his services have been successful in the towns of Islip, Brookhaven, and Southold.

A real estate broker and a licensed appraiser, Cannuscio said, "I would love to work with the Town of Riverhead."

Cannuscio did admit his business is not easy since often members of the community oppose cellular towers, but he said cell towers could be disguised as flagpoles, like one that was built at the Cherry Creek Golf Course on Sound Avenue.

For his services, Cannuscio would charge Riverhead 50% of the rental agreement with the wireless communication companies.

Supervisor Phil Cardinale said he was intrigued with the idea, but also asked if Cannuscio could provide consulting services when the town receives a cellular tower application.

Cannuscio said he could provide such a service and would be willing to provide information as the town begins to consider a proposal from East End Wireless for a telecommunications tower at Grumman Memorial Park.

The proposal calls for a flagpole tower that would be placed on the F-14 Memorial site on Middle Country Road in Calverton. East End said it will pay the town a monthly rental fee of 40% of the gross revenue earned from any other cellular company located in the town. East End will also pay the town a one-time licensing fee of $100,000.

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