Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Westfield Leader 11/01/2007

Letter to the Editor:

Stop the Cell Tower Madness And Arrogance in WF and CF

An application for site-plan approval is being sought for a 130-feet-high cellular tower construction on the Cranford Swim Club property adjacent to Lenape Park.

We, more than 100 residents of Nomahegan Hills Westfield and the section of Cranford north of Springfield Avenue, write to state our opposition to the Cranford Zoning Board granting approval. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Omnipoint are proposing the construction of this cellular tower.

Construction of the tower in this residential neighborhood would require the zoning board to grant seven major variances, including: A height variance is required for the 130-feet-high tower. The maximum height allowable is 70 feet. Setback variances are required for the tower to be located 14 feet from residential property lines versus 390 feet as required.

The property lines referred to are located in Westfield. A variance is also required due to its proximity to Lenape Park and Cranford residential properties. A variance is required to construct equipment compounds (compressors, electrical, diesel generators, etc.) 14 feet from a front and side residential property line where the setback requirements are 35 feet and 62 feet, respectively.

A variance is required for the 345 square feet Verizon shelter versus 200 square feet allowable. The applicants will seek additional variances from the board as required during construction.

We strenuously object to the proposal for several reasons: The property, though technically in Cranford, is 14 feet from our Westfield residential neighborhood, in the backyard of residents living at 40 and 44 Manitou Circle.

At 130 feet, the tower is an eye sore and will detract from Lenape Park’s visual beauty. The tower will be an attraction for collision with migratory birds. According to the FCC, this is a significant problem. Lenape Park is a bird sanctuary and a bird-watchers haven, This ugly edifice could be a major setback to our Green Acres effort.

The noise from the electrical generators and compressors will be problematic. A study of electromagnetic wave effects on humans, birds and animals does not conclude that these transmissions are safe or unsafe. The same study found a correlation between cellular service use and neuroepithelial tumor development outside the brain. It concludes with a warning: “Unfortunately, our five senses cannot perceive the bulk of the iceberg."

The location of the tower and support buildings could encourage vandalism and represents a health and safety hazard to swim club members. There is a tower located in a Mountainside industrial park about one mile away and our Verizon signal in this
area is very good.

Finally, there would be a significant loss in property values in our area. Our
homes represent our largest asset. Of course, the telephone companies will minimize these possible effects, but the truth is that they don’t know or have data to back up what they claim.

The Cranford Zoning Board has scheduled a hearing for December 10 at the Cranford Municipal Building, 8 Springfield Avenue, Cranford at 8:15 p.m. We seek support from Cranford and Westfield residents to stop the construction of this tower in our backyard.

Austin Habib
Stop Cell Tower 2