Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Local Source: Cranford News 11/07/2007

Find Better Spot for Cell Tower

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CRANFORD, NJ - An application to locate a 130-foot cell tower on the grounds of the Cranford Swimming Club is currently before the Cranford zoning board.

Greg Meese, attorney for the private club filing the application, said the phone companies have stated that the club on County Park Drive is a perfect spot for a cell tower because of the lack of service in that area.

The cell 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 annually.

Neighbors and others have lodged complaints against the tower including possible health hazards and that it is situated in a residential area.

In addition there have been other reasons for the board to vote against the cell tower. Both the Union County Freeholders and the state’s Historic Preservation Office have come out against the proposal. The cell tower at the club is near Lenape Park and the Rahway River Park historic district.

Bette Jane Kowalski, the Union County Freeholder chairwoman, pointed out that the Lenape Park’s eligibility for landmark status along with Rahway River Park’s historic status puts constraints on what can be built in the adjacent property, and in turn means the state sets certain guidelines. The state does not consider a cell tower as an applicable use near the historic district.

Despite the hue and cry of some of the residents and environmentalists about radiation coming from cell towers, a witness for the applicant testified that radio frequency exposure was well below Federal Communication Commission guidelines. And most cell towers have been found to not emit enough radiation to have a major impact in causing health problems.

But the location is still a major problem for the placement of the cell tower and we give credence to the county and the state for their concerns with the tower being located next to a historic district.
To a lesser extent the building of the cell tower could hinder an active bird watching community that frequents Lenape Park where some rare species have been sighted.

The cell tower application will be discussed again at the December 10 zoning board meeting.

We hope that the board decides that there could be other locations more fitting for a cell tower and that would not ruin the aesthetic nature of the residential and nearby park area.

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