Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Local Source: Cranford News 03/11/2009

Tower: Verizon Appeals
By Paul Greulich
March 11, 2009

CRANFORD, NJ - Less than three months after the local Zoning Board denied an application seeking height and setback variances to erect a 120-foot-tall cell tower on the Cranford Swim Club property, Verizon Wireless, has filed an appeal in superior court

The applicant hopes to overturn the board’s decision.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 29. Within a few weeks, the Zoning Board filed a response denying the allegations. “We believe the board made a sound decision, and its decision should be upheld,” said Zoning Board Attorney David Weeks.

Board Chair Robert Hellenbrecht did not return repeated calls for comment. Verizon Attorney Gregory Meese could not be reached for comment. CSC is closed until summer and no representatives were available.

The application process has spanned more than a year, drawing significant opposition from Cranford and Westfield residents.

State and county officials also opposed the site as a location for a cell tower due to environmental concerns.

The board unanimously opposed the plan on the basis there might not be a gap in coverage and that the tower would have a negative affect on the surrounding parks and residences. “Cell towers can be located anywhere, but you can’t move a park,” Zoning Board member Jeffrey Pistol said.

Weeks said the appeal did not come as a surprise. “Cell tower companies typically appeal any decisions they lose before local boards,” Weeks said.

No date has been set for the proceedings to begin. “The court will have to make a determination,” zoning officer Robert Hudak said. “I’m guessing that’s the next step.”

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