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