Letter To the Editor:
There are so many flaws in the Verizon cell tower proposal for the Cranford Swimming Club that it is hard to understand. To put it mildly, among other things, Verizon's presentation to the Board has been incomplete and flawed in many different ways.
For example, the criteria used to establish the bases of their presentation did not properly address the following:
1. That Cranford's zoning ordinance specifies that cell towers are not to be placed near residentially zoned areas, much less on a residentially zoned site, as is the case here. The swimming club is rated an R-1 residential zone.
2. That the zoning ordinance presented indicates a maximum acceptable tower height of 70 feet but forgot that this is a residential zone and consequently 30 feet is the maximum acceptable height. Verizon is asking for 130 feet, or more than four times, the residential ordinance limit.
3. That this proposed cell tower project meets none of the Cranford ordinances for setback distances, i.e. the distance from the nearest residential property, and this is based on a project being placed on an industrial site, not like here, which is a residentially zoned area, where even greater setbacks should apply.
4. That the Cranford Swimming Club site is inadequate in every dimension, overall size and location.
5. Ordinances establish setbacks for a number of reasons such as to preserve the appearance of areas or for safety, like in this case, where there will be many people in close proximity of the tower. Towers have fallen and will again...and cell towers do attract lightning...and some lightning misses...at a swim club???
6. That the Verizon cell tower and its support facilities are, as drawn, less than 15 feet from residential and park property where wildlife, nature trails and people observing the beauty of nature presently exist. The applicable ordinance specifies that no such building/ facility shall be within 50 feet of any property line and the tower must be setback 300% of its height, in this case 390 feet, from any residential lot line. In this case, Verizon has the cell tower only 36 feet from the nearest residential property line.
7. That this is a historic area and by county, state and federal edict is not to be disturbed or encroached upon.
8. And, on top of all the above, Verizon finally admitted they presently have adequate cell phone signal coverage in this area, and they indicated "this project is for the future." However, their projected growth/use curve for the area in question did not appear to support their claim of a future shortfall.
This technology is relatively new and the long-term health effects of such a tower is still in question.
Not discussed at the meetings yet, but also very important, is the fact that if the Cranford Swimming Club cell tower is built, all the homes in the area will see a substantial property value loss. In short, because of all the above and much more, this cell tower project does not belong in this location and should be immediately rejected. I recommend that a team of county, town and industry experts be designated to develop an overall county cell tower plan. Protecting the rights of people is at the core of the whole zoning concept and preserving our parkland green space is of the utmost importance in a heavily populated area such as Union County.
The next scheduled meeting on this cell tower project is being held by the Cranford Zoning Board, in the Cranford municipal building, at 8 Springfield Ave., on May 5 at 8:15 p.m. Call 908-709-7216 for confirmation. All interested persons are welcome.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Letter To the Editor:
Posted by Cranford Resident at 10:07 PM