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Verizon has just signed a long-term lease agreement with Moshe Newhouse of 1364 River Avenue LLC for installation of a new cell tower in South Lakewood, FAA News has learned.

The lease will permit Verizon to install a 140-foot monopole communications tower in back of the Taubers store building.

The lease is for a period of 5 years with automatic 4 additional 5 year extension terms.

Cell phone towers are not a permitted use in this zoning district and therefore this proposal would still require Zoning Board approval with a public hearing with notice to the public and neighboring property owners.

In March 2021, Verizon received Zoning Board approval for installation of a similar sized tower behind Finnigans Lanes on Locust Street. At the time, Verizon’s professionals told the board they anticipate keeping that tower operational for up to eighteen months as they are in the process of acquiring a location in this general area for a more permanent tower. That tower was installed in June 2021.

As such, if approved at the Taubers location, the tower behind Finnigans will likely be removed when this new tower is installed.

At the March 2021 public hearing, Verizon representatives testified to the Zoning Board that their current towers around Lakewood have been extremely overwhelmed with increased voice and internet usage since the onset of the pandemic, and with the new tower, in addition to planned upgrades to their existing tower in the John Patrick park on Vine Street, they anticipate addressing most of the capacity issues in the southern section of Lakewood.

David Stern, Vice President of RF Engineering at V‑COMM, testified to the board that prior to COVID, Lakewood's towers were hit with approximately 10 million minutes of use of voice calls each day, and that during COVID, this number dramatically increased to 17 million minutes of use. Most of their service areas see increases of 20-40% each year. Lakewood's Verizon towers have seen a 70% increase in use. Additionally, Verizon has seen a 40% increase in data usage this year. Even now that schools have reopened, phone and data usage is much higher than pre-COVID. Most of this usage is on wireless devices and not on wired devices. This increases use of the wireless towers.

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