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Pastor vs. neighbors in Holbrook

Children of Holbrook Against Residential Cell Antennae

Children of Holbrook Against Residential Cell Antennae

The odds are stacked against a group of neighbors in Holbrook, where the local Catholic Church wants to install a cell tower. Though, at least the neighbors did manage to get the story covered on News12. Click here for story and video at News12.

The church that is considering installing the cell tower–so that it can get a lease and income stream from the Verizon company–is Church of the Good Shepherd in Holbrook, Long Island, New York. The church property is on Grundy Avenue, between Trumpet Lane and Coates Avenue. The pastor is Rev. Msgr. Thomas L. Spadaro, known as Father Tom.

an excerpt from News 12 text summary (the video tells more of the story)

Holbrook church’s neighbors protest cell tower

(09/08/09) HOLBROOK – Holbrook residents are voicing their opposition after a local pastor gave the OK for a cell phone tower to be installed on church property…

Some say the tower will devalue their own properties, while others are concerned about the health of their children. Still others say revenue from the tower should go to the town and not a tax-exempt entity…

The Diocese of Rockville Centre says the decision is purely up to the pastor [Father Tom Spadaro].


Questions from Kimberly Wilder:

How is the Church of the Good Shepherd incorporated as a non-profit entity? The neighbors should find the correct entity and file against their non-profit status – is it the national Catholic Church? the Diocese? or the local church? who files with the NY State Attorney General?

Why should the church, a non-profit entity, be allowed to make a lease deal for an income stream from a private corporation?

If the church can get a lease deal for thousands of dollars a month from a corporation, why should parishioners put money in the plate?

At a meeting about the project, Father Tom noted that he had to get approval from the Diocese. If the Diocese can give approval, clearly they can take it away. Why didn’t the Diocese mention that to News12 and to the neighbors?

How can the Town of Islip government be held responsible for this decision? Town laws and town codes should make it difficult to introduce such devices into such heavily residential areas. Most studies do not consider antennae in such close proximity to people’s actual living quarters.

Do all the parishioners of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Holbrook really know about this situation? It is my understanding that the letter about the cell antennae was only sent to people directly surrounding the property. There may be people who send their children to Sunday School at the church who may not want the antennae there. I believe that the news of the antennae was only posted in a church newsletter (which we can guess not everyone reads cover to cover.)

Note: I hope that members of the Holbrook community, and members of the church, will consider lobbying Father Tom in person and by letter, to let them know that this project is not worth any amount of money, if there is any possibility that it could harm anyone in any way.

3 Responses

  1. I am a parishoner at Good Shepherd. A few weeks ago an announcement was made that said something like, “There will be a meeting held regarding the construction of a Verizon cell phone tower in Holbrook.” The announcement did not make any reference to its being built on Good Shepherd property. I heard the announcement at the end of mass. I left feeling good that the church was seemingly supporting an oppositional stance to the tower. Now I find out it is the other way around.

  2. I am a neighbor living on Hauser. Your article is the first I am hearing of this. I have not received any communication regarding this. I do not want a cell tower in our neighborhood. Are there any groups getting together to stop this?

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