Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cranford Patch 04/02/2010

Cell Phone Tower Project Defeated
A state Superior Court judge has rejected a mobile phone company's request to build a cell phone tower on the property of the Cranford Swim Club
By Kristin Thorne
April 2, 2010

After more than a year of meetings, petitions and hearings, many Cranford residents are pleased that a judge has decided to reject a request to build a cell phone tower on the property of the Cranford Swim Club.

In December 2008, the Cranford Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected an application by Verizon, AT&T Wireless and OmniPoint Communications – also known as T-Mobile – to build a 120-foot tower on the private club's property on County Park Drive. The companies said there was a gap in coverage in the area.

OmniPoint appealed the decision and the case made its way to the Superior Court of New Jersey. Late last month, the court decided to uphold the Cranford Zoning Board's ruling.

Cranford Mayor Mark Smith said OmniPoint failed to prove that there was a gap in coverage.

The decision is a victory for many Cranford residents who had been fighting the proposal for some 15 months. They created a website to rally support against the tower. A petition on the site received more than 270 signatures. Smith said he, not as a municipal official but as a resident of Cranford, signed it as well.

Residents argued that the cell phone tower shouldn't be built in a residential zone. They said it would drastically reduce their property values by creating an eyesore in a scenic part of town. The swim club's property is located adjacent to Lenape Park and near Nomahegan Park. Residents said the tower would extend 60 feet about the tree tops and would destroy the natural aesthetics of the parks.

Roxanne Graham of Cranford wrote on the online petition, "This lovely area near the park is what sold us. We would have thought twice about buying had we known this tower would be our neighbor."

Another concern for residents was the potential health risks of living near the tower.

"This poses a health hazard to the hundreds of children growing up in this upscale community. This belongs on Route 22 or some other non-residential area," wrote Mark Glickman of Westfield. Since the tower would have been close to the Westfield border, people there also got involved in the fight.

Residents can now take an even deeper sigh of relief because Smith said the Superior Court judge dismissed the suit with prejudice, meaning OmniPoint can't bring the petition back again.

Article Courtesy of