Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Eagle - 10/31/2007

New Jersey, Union County Oppose Club Cell Tower

By Paul Greulich, Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CRANFORD, NJ - Both Union County and a state department have joined the growing opposition to the construction of a proposed cell phone tower on the grounds of the Cranford Swim Club.

The move by the county comes after the State’s Historic Preservation Office had stated last week that the tower must be canceled or modified to mitigate its impact upon the adjacent Lenape Park and the Rahway River Park historic district.

Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski said the Freeholder Board fully supports this opinion, and is advocating against the construction of the cell tower.

“The park is eligible for landmark status and that means the state sets certain guidelines for what can be done near a park considered a historic place or on the register to be on the list of historic places,” Kowalski explained.

Residents have also shown mixed response to the application, which is currently before the zoning board for the height and setback variances needed to erecting the 130-foot pole in a residential area.

The application was addressed at an October 15 meeting of the Cranford zoning board, where the room was crowded with a mixture of residents from Cranford and Westfield.

“Certainly we’ve only had two other applications that brought out a full house so to speak,” Zoning Board Chair Robert Hellenbrecht said.

No one on the Swim Club Board could be reached for comment.

The pole would feature four separate antennae servicing companies that include Omnipoint, Sprint and Verizon. Revenue generated for the swim club by having the tower on their property has been estimated at exceeding $20,000.

Citizens’ concern has focused on aesthetics and location in relation to property lines and the adjoining park, but there has also been mention of health hazards associated with living near cell towers, a factor that remains a topic of concern despite not yet having been scientifically substantiated. There were also safety concerns surrounding a generator that may be included in the plan.

“They don’t want to see it, they don’t want to hear it and they don’t want it close enough to have a negative effect on their property value,” Hellenbrecht said of residents’ feelings about the tower.

Another consideration is the active bird watching community that frequents Lenape Park where some rare species have been sighted.

Previous cell tower projects in Cranford and other areas have involved towers that utilize existing tall structures, with the upper reaches of the antennae encased in false facades like cupola and chimneys, but Hellenbrecht said that such options appear less likely in this instance.

Kowalski said she feels cell towers are a necessary part of life, but finds the proposed location near the park unsuitable.

“I feel a real responsibility for protecting the parks and protecting the people who live near the parks,” Kowalski said. “I hope this can all be worked out and keep the park in its scenic condition.”

The cell tower application will be discussed again at the December 10 zoning board meeting. It is the only application scheduled for that evening, but Hellenbrecht said it is unclear if the matter will be voted on. In addition to the testimonies of the two witnesses, the floor will be open to the public to ask questions.

Paul Greulich can be reached at 908-686-7700 ext. 121, or at

The Cranford Swim Club Cell Tower & You

So what exactly does the proposal of the Cranford Swim Club cell tower mean to you?

Here is a simplified breakdown of what this will mean for all of us.

The Applicants:
New York SMSA Limited Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless
Omnipoint Communications Inc.
New Cingular Wireless, LLC (also known as AT&T)
Sprint Spectrum L.P.

The above named applicants have filed a joint application with the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Cranford for approval to construct a wireless communications facility at the Cranford Swim Club, located at 201 County Park Drive, Cranford, NJ.

The proposed facility would consist of a:

A 130’ Monopole

An equipment compound located at the base of the tower containing equipment for each carrier.

A 225 gallon diesel fueled generator, to be maintained by Verizon Wireless

The entire cell tower facility would equal 2,800 square feet.

In addition, the applicants said that a 12 foot wide access road extending from the swim club’s parking lot would be necessary for maintenance trucks to pass through every four to six weeks per carrier.

The applicants have filed applications with the Zoning Board of the Township of Cranford for the following variances:

A Use Variance – A use variance is a variance that allows a nonconforming use of property after the implementation of the zoning regulation or other applicable law. The property of the Cranford Swim Club is in a Residential Zone.

A Height Variance – To allow the proposed tower to be 130 feet, where tower height is limited to 70 feet. They are asking to make the tower 60 feet taller than allowed in this area! The tree level in the area is only 75-85 feet. The proposed tower would shadow over them by almost 50 feet or 5 stories!

A Setback Variance – To allow the tower to be located within a Residential Zone; where a setback of 300% of tower height from a Residential Zone is required. Not only are they not supposed to be in a Residential Zone, they are supposed to be at least 390 feet away from any Residential Zone!

A Setback Variance – To allow the tower to be setback 14 feet from the property line, where a setback of 125% (162.5 feet) of the tower height is required to the property line. They are asking that the tower be allowed to be placed 14 feet from the property line, where a 162.5 foot setback is required!

A Setback Variance – To allow the Equipment Compound to be setback 15 feet from the front property line, where the setback requirements are 35 feet.

A Setback Variance – To allow the Equipment Compound to be setback 13 feet from the side property line, where the setback requirement is 62.8 feet.

Variance – To allow the Verizon Wireless equipment shelter to be 345 square feet, where only a 200 square foot shelter is permitted.

Variances are typically only granted after undergoing a statutory review process against specified approval criteria. Although review criteria vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, three basic criteria are common to the vast majority of variance ordinances:

The variance is required due to specific site conditions (topography, soil conditions, etc.), which causes unnecessary hardship to the landowner;

Granting the variance will not result in a hazard to public health or safety, and;

Granting the variance will not result in a grant of special privilege to the property owner (in other words, any other property owner with similar site conditions could obtain a similar variance: this criterion is often addressed by citing precedent)

If the Township allows these variances, they will be setting a horrible precedent that will only open the door for every cell tower proposal, anywhere, to be approved.

The next tower could be in your back yard.

Continue the Fight Cranford!

This Proposal MUST NOT go Through!

The Zoning Board Application

Here is the application information:

Township of Cranford Zoning Board Application #Z17-07

New York SMSA Limited Partnership, Applicant

201 County Park Drive, Block 109, Lot 46, R-1 Zone

To permit construction of a telecommunications tower with the following variances/waivers:

Tower not permitted in the R-1 zone (136-33K(6);

To exceed the maximum allowable height for a tower (136-33K(10);

Less than the minimum required setback for a tower (136-33K(10)(b);

Less than the minimum required setback to a residential zone for a tower (136-33K(10)(c);

To exceed the maximum allowable square footage for an equipment cabinet (136-33K(12)(a);

Less than the minimum required front yard setback for equipment (136-30.6);

Less than the minimum required side yard setback (136-30.7)

Note the strongest variance - TOWER IS NOT PERMITTED IN A RESIDENTIAL ZONE (R-1)

What more does the Zoning Board need?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Residents in Action!

A huge thank you goes out to one of our fellow residents who drafted a letter to Dorothy P. Guzzo, Administrator & Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer of the Historical Division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

A copy of this letter was also sent to the Star Ledger as well as Fox 5 News. Hopefully we can keep our battle going to stop this proposed cell tower. Any suggestions that you may have are of course welcomed! We greatly appreciate your input!

The Letter:

Ms. Guzzo,

The residents of Cranford, Westfield and especially in the area impacted by the proposed cell tower, would like to offer you our sincere thank you for taking the time to review and comment on the issue at hand.

We are very pleased to read in today's paper of your comments regarding the negative impact of the tower to the river and beautiful park area. Our residents take great pride in our neighborhood and also our location in adjacent to the park area. The swim club obviously does not.

I'm sure that the variances that are needed you have reviewed as well. One of our biggest concerns is the negative impact on the future of the pre existing non conforming use that the swim club now occupies. The current zone is R-2, which is residential. We strongly feel that this cell tower will never allow that area to be returned one day to homes and or a park area. If this is allowed, we feel that this is a severe dent and complete disregard for our zoning laws and also a blow to the master plan of returning these non conforming zones one day to the original intended use. Not to mention the negative impact of this historic area.

Needless to say, I (we) have several questions regarding the proposed site as to the NJDEP regulations of having a generating plant within such close proximity to the river with 125 gallons of fuel storage within the structure.

Several other issues that can severely hurt the river and park area are being further discussed and investigated by our residents as well.

I know how familiar you are with the area, myself as well as the residents of the area would like to offer you a walking tour of the park & river areas which would be affected by this tower and structure and we would welcome any suggestions or comments that you would have for continuing effort to stop the swim club and Verizon from moving forward with the application within our municipality. In my words I feel that living within Cranford and especially in that area is not a matter of convenience but it's because of our historic, nature filled beautiful views and of course our river.

I would like to make a request to your office for any documentation that is allowed to be viewed by our residents and also passed onto our local zoning officials as well as board members that would show negative effects that this tower would have.

I would also like to send out my personal thank you to several members of your staff within your office that took the time to return my phone calls with concerns that I had with the application.

We are looking forward to hearing from yourself and staff with any information you can offer.

Great work! The residents of this community are coming together and we will not be stopped!

Keep up the fight Cranford!

Our voices deserve to be heard!

Update 10/27/2007

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Saturday as well as a fabulous weekend. I just wanted to add a few updates to the blog in order to let everyone know what I have been up to.

On Friday, October 26, 2007, I sent an email to the Cranford Zoning Board inquiring the following:

What is the current status of the proposal of the cell tower upon the grounds of the Cranford Swim Club?

Is the proposal still being continued before the Zoning Board on December 10, 2007?

Are the photos and proposal information that are available for "viewing" at the Municipal Building also available to be copied?

I will let everyone know as soon as I receive a response; if I ever receive one at all that is.

For those who wish to voice your concerns or contact the Cranford Zoning Board directly, their email address is:

In addition, I plan to take a trip down to the Municipal Building this week to see what kind of information I can gather. I would also like to retrieve the minutes from the Zoning Board Meeting that was held on October 15, 2007.

It appears that you must request the minutes via a written request to the Township Clerk. I will call Monday morning to see how I can request a copy.

Please continue to email me with any and all information that you may have or would like to see posted on this site.

Your support on this matter is so greatly appreciated!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bette Jane Kowalski

In an excerpt from the Star Ledger on October 25, 2007, our Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chairwoman, Bette Jane Kowalski, had the following to say:

"More recently, freeholder chairwoman Betty Jane Kowalski said the county is also against construction of the tower.

"The county is interested in this issue because the cell tower would be right next to Lenape Park, which is part of the county parks system and the freeholders have a responsibility to protect the safety of our residents and our parks," she said.

"Our park system is eligible for historical landmark status and the letter from the state Historical Preservation Office says this will have an adverse impact on the Rahway River Park Historic district," she said.

Kowalski said Lenape Park is extensively used by residents not only of Cranford, but also from Westfield, Mountainside and Kenilworth.

"I am sympathetic to the needs of the Cranford Swimming Club to generate fund to make improvements, but it can't be at the expense of the parks and the local residents," Kowalski said."

I applaud her comments and hope to have her full support should this fight continue on.

Read More About Bette Jane Kowalski

Doctors Want Cell Tower Moved

I came across the following article today and actually found it extremely informative. It gives somewhat of a foresight into what can happen once a cell tower is constructed and in place; following the emergence of ever changing cell tower risk assessment documentation.

Norfolk Doctors Want Cell Tower Moved

By Cheryl Bauslaugh, Expositor Staff
Local News
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Area doctors are asking Norfolk Council to have another try at removing Rogers Wireless equipment from the Simcoe water tower.

Council abandoned its efforts to have the equipment relocated last October, after finding out that it would cost at least $316,000 to get out of a long-term lease with Rogers. But a letter from 11 local physicians urges councillors to reopen negotiations with Rogers and have the equipment moved to a “more responsible” location.

“There is an increasing body of evidence linking the radio frequency radiation emitted from cellphone towers to serious health effects, including cancers and childhood leukemia,” says the letter, dated April 2.

“It is impossible at this time to feel comfortable knowing a cellphone tower is located near an elementary school. The levels of exposure on a daily basis for these young people are not consistent with prudent health policy at this time. Action is required to minimize or eliminate the potential risks. Simply put, the tower must be moved away from school children where health and immune systems may be less resistant than an adult’s.”

The letter is signed by Dr. Jeff Tschirhart, former acting medical officer of health for Norfolk, and 10 other doctors in Simcoe, Port Dover and Jarvis.

About 20 people living near the tower, which is close to Elgin Avenue School and Norfolk General Hospital, have complained about symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and headaches since the Rogers antenna was installed last February.

Hardest hit is Dan Currie, who is unable to live in his home, located just below the tower. Currie will be one of several people appearing at tonight’s council session to ask politicians to revisit the issue.

Also throwing his support behind Currie and his neighbours is Brant MP Lloyd St. Amand. He has contacted Industry Canada, which regulates telecommunication towers, asking them to intervene in the situation.

St. Amand acknowledged that the Simcoe tower is meeting Health Canada safety standards. But, like the physicians, he believes more study is needed to rule out a possible health risk.

“I have asked Industry Canada to check and recheck that our standards are not falling behind other jurisdictions,” St. Amand said on Monday. He said many European countries have banned cellphone towers in locations that are close to schools and houses.

“Maybe our standards are substandard, compared to other jurisdictions,” he said. “Let’s have a real careful look at this.”

© 2007, Osprey Media

Letter to Government
Supporting Letter from Doctors

The American Cancer Society

From the website of the American Cancer Society:

"Cellular phone towers, like cellular phones themselves, are a relatively new technology, and we do not yet have full information on health effects. In particular, not enough time has elapsed to permit epidemiologic studies. There are some theoretical reasons why cellular phone towers would not be expected to increase cancer risk, and animal studies of RF have not suggested a risk of cancer. People who are concerned can ask for measurements of RF near cellular phone towers to be sure exposures do not exceed recommended limits."

Please visit the following website for more information:

American Cancer Society

Cranford Swim Club Newsletter

The following excerpt was taken from the May 2007 copy of “Splash”, the newsletter of the Cranford Swim Club:

Cell Tower Update

"The cell tower project is moving right along. The contracts have been executed with Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, and T-Mobile and the Cranford Swim Club. Verizon is preparing the application for the zoning process with the Township.

In addition, the contract is with Cingular for execution. Based on the zoning approval process and the time it will take to obtain such approval, construction of the cell tower will not take place until after the summer.”

For the full newsletter, click here.

So, as many have wondered and so many have asked and received no response; EXACTLY HOW LONG HAS THE CRANFORD SWIM CLUB BEEN PLANNING THIS CELL TOWER PROPOSAL?

If in the month of May 2007, they were telling their members that the "cell tower project is moving right along", I have to believe that it had already been in the works for quite some time.

Isn't it ironic how “quiet” it was all kept?

It is almost as if the Cranford Swim Club didn't want their neighboring residents to have even the slightest chance to get the proper information together regarding their rights before throwing them into the battle zone against an army of hired guns; a toxic mixture of "experts", lawyers, engineers, etc.

The residents who would have the greatest impact were notified only approximately nine days before the Zoning Board hearing; which occurred on Monday, October 15, 2007.

Why was this all done with such a veil of secrecy? Perhaps because the Cranford Swim Club knew exactly what response was to come? Or perhaps they were advised not to make a lot of noise about the proposed cell tower because of the backlash it would bring from the residents of all towns involved?

The possibilities are endless.

One thing is clear. The only interest that was ever taken into consideration here is the financial interest that the Cranford Swim Club saw in having a cell tower site on their property.

It appears that they never once took the best interest of their neighboring residents, county parks or the town as a whole into their consideration.

It all comes down to one word. GREED.

Unfortunately, GREED won't stand up in a court of law, however the voices of the town will!

Keep up the fight Cranford! We deserve to be heard!

Is Canada onto Something?

It seems that the Canadians are way ahead of us in their fight to stop the contstruction of cell towers in their region.

I found a very informative website that is based out of Canada. Please take a moment to visit the site and read through some of the information that they have come across involving cell tower radiation and the potential risks that is poses to our community and many others!


Map of Cell Tower Locations in New Jersey

I was curious to know just how many cell towers have already invaded our great state. To get a better idea of just how many of these towers are already "planted" in New Jersey, the "garden" state, click below:

New Jersey Cell Tower Locations

Sickening, isn't it?

Tax & Property Information - Cranford Swim Club

According to a Certified Letter sent courtesy of the Law Offices of Price, Meese, Shulman & D'Arminio, dated October 1, 2007, the proposed cell tower facility at the Cranford Swim Club would impact the following land; the Cranford Swim Club located at 201 County Park Drive, Cranford, New Jersey, which property is identified on the Cranford Tax Assessment Map as Block 109, Lot 46 and includes property located on the Westfield Tax Assessment Map as Block 3905, Lot 26, including access across Block 101.02, Lot 1, as shown on the Cranford Tax Assessment Map.

The Cranford Swim Club land and tax information:


Property Location:
201 County Park Drive
Cranford Tax Assessment Map = Block 109/Lot 46
Acreage = 0.038

Land = $273,400
Improvements = $194,200
Total Assessment = $467,600

Taxes to be Paid in 2007 = $19,597.12

Cranford Tax Record Block 109/Lot 46


Property Location:
206 Springfield Avenue – Rear
Westfield Tax Assessment Map = Block 3905/Lot 26
Acreage = 0.46

Land = $2,800
Improvements = $0.00
Total Assessment = $2,800

Taxes to be Paid in 2007 = $170.32

Westfield Tax Record Block 3905/Lot 26

It is also stated in the proposal letter that access will be included "across Block 101.02, Lot 1, as shown on the Cranford Tax Assessment Map".

This block/lot of land is Lenape Park, owned by the Union County Division of Parks and Recreation.

Cranford Tax Record Block 101.02/Lot 1

All information in this post was gathered through the Union County Board of Taxation.

Union County Board of Taxation

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Westfield Leader 10/25/2007

The Westfield Leader
Letter to The Editor:

What Good Are Laws if
Powerful Subvert Them?

Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited for brevity.

I wished to have read this to the Cranford Zoning Board on October 15 but was unable to due to time constraints.

My husband and I have lived in Westfield since 1965 and raised our five children here. We chose this area to enjoy the beauty of the woods, animals and birds here. We belonged to the Cranford Swim Club for 25 years, and our children worked there during summers. As our children left to pursue their lives, we resigned our membership.

We have been good citizens, paid our taxes and helped in the community. We counted on being treated fairly and expect to be protected by our government and its laws. We are in our seventies and hope to live here until illness or death.

On October 6, our peace was shattered when we received a certified letter informing us that Cranford Swim Club, whose property abuts our backyard, was proposing construction of a 130-foot cell phone tower along with big electrical storage buildings. At least four cell-phone companies are seeking to obtain variances to accomplish this.

When we saw their plans, we couldn’t believe that this ugly project would be so close to our homes. The massive tower does not belong here due to its immense size and ugly industrial appearance. It would be plainly visible to people who run, walk, take photos or wish to spend time with nature in adjoining Lenape Park. This monster should be, if anywhere, in an industrial area, a highway or isolated area. It should not be located in a residential area or destroy the beauty of a placid park area.

The swim club and the cell-phone companies would reap huge financial rewards while the people would incur losses.

Westfield recently shot down a proposal for a smaller cell tower in this area. It was determined that adequate communications existed here.

If this project were approved, it would be difficult to stay here because our quality
of life would be so diminished. The tower is so high. It would be located 14 feet off our next-door neighbor’s property. It would have illumination because of its height and due to 24-hour operation. It would be almost impossible to get a fair price for our home if we move. The equity built up over the years would be destroyed and the neighborhood quality of our life would be severely impacted. The safety of towers is still in question.

What good are laws if powerful interests can subvert them to their own ends? Westfield and Cranford residents have to be protected by their respective zoning boards. If not, what good are the boards?

You [zoning board] have our futures in your hands. Please consider well all that I have stated. We want to thank everyone for attending and welcome any help in stopping this massive mistake.

There will be an important meeting December 10 at the Cranford Municipal Building concerning the future of this proposal. Call the Cranford Zoning Board at (908) 709-7216 for confirmation.

Jenny Schuvart

The Star Ledger 10/25/2007

Impact of Cell Tower at Issue

Area's Historical Status Troubles State Panel

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

State historic preservation officials said a planned 130-foot cell tower cannot be built on the grounds of a privately owned swim club in Cranford because the design would have a negative impact on the area's historical status.

Despite the findings by the state Department of Environmental Protection's Natural and Historic Resources, Historic Preservation Office, Verizon Wireless is continuing its effort to obtain the seven variances they will need to build the proposed tower at the Cranford Swimming Club on County Park Drive.

Verizon Wireless is the primary applicant for the tower, which would also be used by Sprint Mobile, AT&T and Omnipoint. The project would also include the construction of a 2,700-square-foot fenced-in equipment area.

However, Dorothy P. Guzzo, deputy state historic preservation officer, said the project "will have an adverse effect" on the Rahway River Park Historic District across the street from the swim club property.

Guzzo's statement was included in a letter dated June 1 to Alana K. Stops of Richard Grubb & Associates, a cultural resource management firm hired by Verizon for the tower project planned for the site adjacent to Union County's Lenape Park .

"When a new cell tower is going to be constructed the proposal re quires a regulatory review by the state historical preservation office," Stops said.

She said her company is hired to do a historic architectural and archaeological study of an area within a half-mile radius of a proposed cell tower site to "see what is going to be impacted."

Based on the firm's report that was submitted to the DEP, the proposed tower in Cranford would have a detrimental impact, according to Guzzo.

Noting that "setting is an integral part of the park experience,' Guzzo told Stops that is your client's obligation to avoid, reduce, or mitigate the effects of the project."

That finding effectively stops the construction of the cell tower for now, DEP Spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said yesterday.

"They need to find a way to negate any adverse impacts. But at this point they can't proceed," she said.

Verizon is currently working with the state Historic Preservation Office to remedy the situation, a company spokesman said yesterday.

"It is in everyone's best interest to work with the state and come to some agreement," the spokesman said.

She said the company will continue to pursue the local variances because even if the state rejects Verizon's plans, it can always appeal that decision to the Federal Communications Commission.

Residents from both Cranford and neighboring Westfield who live in the neighborhood around the swim club expressed their disdain for the tower at an Oct. 15 meeting of the township's zoning board.

Residents expressed concern the structure would ruin the ap pearance of their neighborhood, drive down property values and raise safety issues.

However, experts brought in by the applicant maintained the tower posed no risk to safety as it would be fenced in with wires running underground.

The club's board of governors sent out an e-mail to members shortly before the meeting urging them to attend the session in support of the cell tower. The message explained that revenues generated by the tower would be used to make much-needed repairs and renovations to the facility.

More recently, freeholder chairwoman Betty Jane Kowalski said the county is also against construction of the tower.

"The county is interested in this issue because the cell tower would be right next to Lenape Park, which is part of the county parks system and the freeholders have a responsibility to protect the safety of our residents and our parks," she said.

"Our park system is eligible for historical landmark status and the letter from the state Historical Preservation Office says this will have an adverse impact on the Rahway River Park Historic district," she said.

Kowalski said Lenape Park is extensively used by residents not only of Cranford, but also from Westfield, Mountainside and Kenilworth.

"I am sympathetic to the needs of the Cranford Swimming Club to generate fund to make improvements, but it can't be at the ex pense of the parks and the local residents," Kowalski said.

Robert E. Misseck may be reached at or (908) 302-1507.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cranford Chronicle 10/19/2007

Letter to the Editor:

Cell Tower Poses Threat to Neighborhood

To The Chronicle:

The first of several meetings was held Monday, Oct. 15 about the proposed cell phone tower that the Cranford Swim Club is trying to get variances for. Many citizens came out opposing this questionable display of citizenship. Please be aware that this private club, located in a residential area of Cranford, wants to put up a 130-foot cell phone tower. That is the equivalent of a 13-story building. The base of the tower and the station houses for four providers will be located only 14 feet from the nearest residential property line (Editor's Note -- This claim is in dispute and will be addressed at the next hearing). The amount of space required by Cranford Township for an application like this is approximately 390 feet from the property line. In fact, this proposal would need at least seven variances from municipal ordinances, but they had lawyers and expert witnesses to testify on their behalf.

At the meeting we heard that they also will be storing at least 250 gallons of diesel fuel for a backup generator and they don't need to have a fire hydrant nearby. Can we really trust the testimony of large cell phone companies and their paid representatives? No one really knows the long-term effects this would have on a neighborhood this close in proximity.

It is our understanding that the lawyers who represent the four cell companies (they then mentioned a fifth company Monday night) were turned down by six other Cranford sites. Dreyer Farms, Union County College and Nomahegan Park were just a few who felt that they would not sell out there neighbors for this disgusting piece of metal. They had the integrity to see that this would be a detriment to our community. But the members of the board of the Cranford Swim Club could not pass up the opportunity. They were willing to sell out our part of the town for a large payment every year to benefit their swimming pool.

We have collected over 300 signatures opposing this proposal. But we need everyone's help. The next board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10. Please come out and help defeat this proposal -- or next time it could be in your backyard.



Cranford Chronicle 10/19/2007

Swim club cell tower plan draws residents' ire

Friday, October 19, 2007

CRANFORD - More than 100 area residents turned out Monday night, as the Zoning Board of Adjustment began a hearing on an application by a cooperative of four cellular carriers for a 130-foot monopole and a 2,760 square foot equipment compound at the Cranford Swimming Club. A final decision on the proposal may be announced when the hearing is continued in December.

The application seeks a total of seven variances to construct the monopole tower on grounds owned by the private swim club on County Park Drive, near the Westfield border. The tower would host antennae for Verizon Wireless, Sprint Mobile, AT& T and Omnipoint, a branch of T-Mobile.

At Monday's meeting, residents from both Cranford and Westfield turned out to object to the project, though at least one person in the crowd spoke in favor of the proposal.

Greg Meese, attorney for the applicant, said that all four carriers had scoured the surrounding area for over a year, looking for a site to build a cell tower. "Because of the needs of the carriers, this really is an appropriate area," he told the board.

At the meeting, which lasted until almost midnight, a radio frequency compliance expert and the site engineer offered testimony in favor of the proposal and were peppered with questions by audience members.

At times the questions grew raucous, and board Chairman Robert Hellenbrecht at one point threatened to have an audience member removed after an outburst turned into a heated exchange over procedure with board Attorney David Weeks.

Daniel Collins of Pinnacle Telecom Group testified that the application was significantly below Federal Communication Commission guidelines for radio frequency exposure.
"The facility at this site will be in compliance with the federal standards by a factor of 140," Collins said.

Still, residents voiced concern. Jack Schubert of Westfield, who said his home is directly next to the swim club, asked how much protection he would be afforded to neighbors. "The other part of the question is how many times has the government been wrong?" he asked to a thunderous applause.

Collins answered that while the government is not infallible, radio technology was not new and the standards had been updated over time.

Anthony Suppa, the site plan engineer, said the proposal would place the tower in the northwest corner of the swim club's three-acre property. That would leave it 246 feet from the nearest home in Westfield and 378 feet from the nearest home in Cranford.

Board Vice Chairman Jeffrey Pistol asked Suppa what the risk be if someone scaled the fence and was able to actually touch the monopole. Suppa responded that there would be no risk, because all of the wires from equipment would be run underground and then fed through the monopole up to the antennae. He added that the tower and the equipment compound would be surrounded by an eight-foot chain link fence, and all of the components would be equipped with a silent alarm linked to the transmission station.

Pistol persisted, asking what kind of response time could be expected when the alarm is tripped, especially in cases of illicit activity. Suppa said the response would depend on each carrier, but could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, a comment that drew gripes from the audience.

Questioning Suppa, Cranford resident Rita LaBrutto asked how much space would be required in a residential area for a monopole tower. "What if I want one?" she asked. However, Meese interjected, saying that Suppa would not be the witness to question on the matter.

In turn, LaBrutto said the swim club was in a residential area and allowing a cell tower could set a dangerous precedent. Hellenbrecht responded, saying that any such case would have to be presented to the board and would be considered on its own merits.

The site also sits near Lenape Park, a county park that includes a detention basin. Speaking about the proximity to the park, Meese said the applicant had received a letter from county officials saying they had no comment on the proposal.

However, on Wednesday Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski said she had "not received information about this proposed cell tower."

"I am not in favor of permitting anything that obstructs the view from a Union County park," Kowalski said.

She added that the freeholders are "definitely going to weigh in on this." County spokesman Sebastian D'Elia said the freeholders are currently "exploring their legal options" with respect to the proposal.

The hearing will be continued on Dec. 10, when a professional planner and another radio frequency expert are expected to testify. At the conclusion of testimony, members of the public will be allowed to comment.

Leslie Murray is a staff writer for the Chronicle. She can be reached at (732) 396-4205 or

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Westfield Leader 10/18/2007

Applicants Propose Cell Tower In Cranford on WF Border

Specially Written for The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times

CRANFORD — A standing-room only crowd attended Monday night’s Cranford planning board meeting as Cranford and Westfield residents came out to protest a proposed 130-foot cell-phone tower at the Cranford Swim Club, a three-acre area bordering Westfield.

Property values, danger to wildlife, health issues and aesthetics were among the concerns residents voiced.

Engineer Daniel Collins, speaking on behalf of the applicants – Verizon Wireless, Omnipoint Communications, AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless) and Sprint – gave testimony regarding radiofrequency compliance. According to his calculations, the worst-case scenario of radiofrequency emissions from the monopole is approximately seven-tenths of 1 percent of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) limit. He said the proposed cell tower is 141 times below the FCC limit.

Board attorney David Weeks said since the applicants comply with FCC standards, the board could not turn down the application on that reason alone. Nevertheless, residents spoke after the testimony to ask questions.

Kurt Krause of 20 Pittsfield Street in Cranford asked about the potential hazard to migrating birds flying into the structure, considering the approximate 150-foot proximity of the wetlands and string of county parks. “There are towers that can cause problems with birds, but they are 300-foot towers,” said Mr. Collins. “There is no affect on animals.”

Verizon Wireless, Omnipoint Communications, AT&T and Sprint seek variances in their joint application for the tower. According to the application, the tower is 60 feet over allowable height restrictions. A 14-foot setback from the property line for the monopole and a 15-foot setback from the property line for the equipment compound, and a 13-foot setback for the side property line, are under the required 35 feet and 62.8 feet, respectively, in Cranford’s building codes. The equipment compound is 145 square feet greater than the maximum 200 square feet permissible under Cranford’s regulations.

Civil engineer Anthony Suppa presented site plans for the applicants that showed the tower at 246 feet from the nearest house in Westfield and 378 feet from the nearest residence in Cranford. However, he said, it is 30 feet from the first property line in Westfield, 13 feet from the parking lot of the Cranford Swim Club and 25 feet from the first property line in Cranford. He said Omnipoint would occupy the lowest point on the monopole at 100 feet.

The tree level in the area is about 75 to 85 feet, and cell towers must have clearance of trees in order for the signal to extend to its customers, Mr. Suppa said, adding that a tower on County Park Drive would service less than a one-mile radius. A fifth carrier, Metro PCS, recently expressed interest in affixing a cell to the tower. The board said Metro PCS would have to schedule a separate hearing, as the board was already hearing the current application.

In addition to the tower, an eightfoot- high, fenced-in area would contain equipment shelters for each carrier, totaling the project at 2,800 square feet. The applicants said a 12-foot-wide access road extending from the swim club’s parking lot would be necessary for maintenance trucks to pass through every four to six weeks per carrier.

Verizon Wireless also would maintain a 225-gallon diesel-fueled generator, which it would run once a week for a half hour during normal business hours. Mr. Suppa said the noise level is 65 decibels, likened to the sound of a clothes dryer running in the next room.

Tree removal would be necessary to build the equipment area; Mr. Suppa said planting new trees in other areas is an option.

Residents also inquired about the county beautification laws, which stipulate that homeowners along County Park Drive cannot have driveways or walkways to the front door. Mr. Suppa had no comment on this matter. The applicants’ attorney, Gregory Meese, said earlier during the hearing, “The county had no comments on the application.”

The board will continue the hearing on Monday, December 10.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Star Ledger 10/12/2007

Cranford Gears Up For Cell Tower Fight

Proposal For Swim Club Site Goes Before Zoning Board

Friday, October 12, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Concerned about the impact on property values and neighborhood aesthetics, a number of Cranford residents say they plan to attend Monday's zoning board meeting to voice their objections to the proposed construction of a cell phone tower at the Cranford Swimming Club.

Meanwhile, the privately owned club's board of governors is urging its members to turn out for the 8:15 p.m. session in the municipal building to show their support for the proposal, which they believe will generate sufficient funds to make needed improvements to the pool.

In an e-mail sent to club members and obtained by The Star-Ledger, the club's board of governors said it was "imperative to have as many pool members attend the hearing to speak out in favor of the tower to offset any resident complaints."

Verizon, Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile have filed a joint application with the township's zoning board of adjustment for approval to build a wireless communications facility at the swim club on County Park Drive, according to the e-mail.

The installation would consist of a 130-foot monopole with an equipment compound located at the base of the pole.

The joint application seeks a use variance, a height variance to allow the tower to be 130 feet tall, and setback variances for the tower to be located within a residential zone. The application also seeks preliminary and final site plan approval.

Genevieve "Jenny" Schuvart, who lives on Manitou Circle in neighboring Westfield, is among the area residents opposed to the tower. Her yard abuts the pool property.

She said she and her husband received a certified letter Saturday about the proposal and the upcoming hearing.

"I almost had a heart attack," said Schuvart, who is in her 70s and who has lived in Cranford since 1965. She was also a member of the swim club until her children grew older and moved away.

"What quality of life would you have with that thing towering over you, and who would buy our home with that in our backyard?" Schuvart said. "I cannot even understand why they would allow a 130-foot structure in this neighborhood. It's a residential area."

"We moved into this area because we appreciate nature. We are all decent people, and to have this visited upon us is just unfair," she said.

Township Commissioner George McDonough said the cell tower could mean a sizable amount of revenue for the swim club.

"They could receive something like $25,000 per carrier using the tower, so it's worthwhile for them (the club) to have it," he said.

Several telephone calls to members of the swim club board were not immediately returned.

McDonough said building the tower in a residential area is not the ideal location and suggested using a site farther back in nearby Lenape Park.

"I think what is paramount is the opinion of the people who live in the neighborhood," he said.

A similar proposal was just shot down in Scotch Plains, where the local zoning board of adjustment voted 6-0 Oct. 4 to deny Omnipoint Communications' request to build a 120-foot cell phone tower, a 6-foot fence and other equipment on the privately owned property of the Willow Grove Swim Club, adjacent to Kramer Manor Park on Evelyn Street.

The problem in that community was that the proposed tower was too close to protected wetlands.

Robert E. Misseck covers Union County. He can be reached at or (908) 302-1507.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Westfield Leader 10/11/2007

Cell Carriers File App.
To Build 130-ft. Tower

CRANFORD – Westfield residents John and Jenny Schuvart of Manitou Circle notified The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times on Monday morning that Verizon Wireless, Omnipoint Communications, New Cingular Wireless (AT&T) and Sprint have filed a joint application with the zoning board of the Township of Cranford for approval to construct a wirelesscommunications facility at the Cranford Swim Club, located at 201 County Park Drive.

The Schuvarts said they were concerned about the 130-foot “monopole” that the facility would feature, especially “after [successfully] fighting the one at Wychwood Gardens.”

The applicants have applied for use, height and setback variances.
The zoning board has scheduled a public hearing on the joint application for next Monday, October 15, at 8:15 p.m. at Cranford’s municipal building at 8 Springfield Avenue.