A proposal to install a permanent cellular communication tower on Georgian Court University is once again returning to Lakewood Township's Zoning Board, however it is now proposed for a different location within the university property.

The original 2022 application proposed a tower to be located in proximity to Laurelwood Avenue, Fernwood Avenue, and Georgian Terrace, 358 feet away from the nearest residential dwelling. The tower is now proposed to be located 791 feet to the closest residential dwelling.

The new site will be mostly visible from Cedarview Avenue and Case Road, with some visibility from Lakewood Avenue.

Appeal # 4217A submitted by Cellco Partnership – Verizon Wireless is scheduled to be considered by the Board this Monday night July 1, 2024.

The Township's ordinances only permits wireless communication facilities in the M-1 industrial area zone or on properties owned by the municipality. Cell towers in any other zone requires Use Variance relief from the Zoning Board.

Despite this requirement, a few years ago a temporary wireless communication tower was installed on the university property with no Zoning Board approval.

Back in May 2022, Cellco Partnership – Verizon Wireless finally presented an application to the Zoning Board for approval to replace that temporary tower with a permanent tower which would be installed near Laurelwood Avenue, Fernwood Avenue, and Georgian Terrace, in proximity to the location of the temporary tower. 

In addition to the use variance, the application also sought variance relief to locate the tower about 358 feet away from at least one residential dwelling whereas the Township ordinance requires wireless communication facilities to be setback 1,500 feet from residential dwelling units.

The BMG Roshei Yeshiva, the Satmar Dayan Rabbi Klein, as well as BMG Senior Posek Rabbi Forcheimer signed letters opposing installation of additional cell towers in Lakewood.

The letter signed by the BMG Roshei Yeshiva states "these towers do not come free of serious health concerns and risks for the Lakewood community." The letter also states that installation of cell towers in residential areas "defies Torah law," and calls on Lakewood residents to "join the efforts to oppose these advancements."

Heeding the call, numerous members of the public attended two public hearings held on the application to object to the proposal.

At both public hearings only professionals for Verizon provided testimony. The Board did not open the floor to testimony from the public.

The Board then scheduled a third public hearing. That hearing was never held as Verizon tabled the application so they could investigate possibly relocating the tower to a different location in the university campus.

The application is now returning to the Board with a newly proposed location in back of Cedarview Avenue and Case Road as depicted on the map below.

The revised application seeks a Use Variance to permit the use of a wireless communication facility in the R-12 zoning district, as well as variance relief to locate the tower about 791 feet away from at least one residential dwelling whereas the Township ordinance requires wireless communication facilities to be setback 1,500 feet from residential dwelling units.

The revised application also seeks a height variance as the maximum height in the R-12 zoning district is 35 feet, whereas the proposed height of the tower is +143 feet measured to the top of the proposed antennas (exclusive of the lightning rod).

As was the case in conjunction with the previously submitted application, the proposed wireless communications facility will be located within a 2,500 square foot compound. A 30-kW generator as well as the equipment cabinets will be installed on a concrete pad. The entirety of the wireless communications facility will be surrounded by a 6-foot-high chain link fence with a 12-foot-wide lockable access gate. The size of the proposed compound is intended to accommodate future co-locators. In fact, included with this application submission is a letter of intent from T-Mobile indicating its interest to co-locate its facility at the tower’s 120-foot elevation.

To increase aesthetics, the proposed design will now include “Georgian Court" banners as shown in the photo simulation below.

New Jersey State law requires board members who own or are "related to" properties within 200 feet away from an application site to recuse themselves from applications.

As previously reported here on FAA News, despite acknowledging that Board Member Meir Gelly stated that he is also a board member of BMG - who personally signed the contract to purchase a portion of the very lot of the subject application - and that Board Member Moish Glieberman is also an employee of BMG, Board Chairman Halberstam permitted these board members to continue to sit on this application.

Following exposure on FAA News of this issue, as reported here on FAA News, at the Board's second public hearing, Board Attorney Jerry Dasti directed Mr. Glieberman and Mr. Gelley to do the right thing and recuse themselves.

This Board's public hearing will take place on Monday, July 1, 2024, at 7:00pm at the Lakewood Township Municipal Building, 231 Third Street, at which time you may appear in person, by agent, or by attorney and present any comments you may have relative to the granting of this application.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain which crackhead decided towers are bad? We hold phone to our head all day long and that’s not a problem. But heaven forbid they out a tower that is very out of reach!