Thursday, December 16, 2010

Portion of article re T-Mobile Cell Tower in Medford, NJ

Lieberman says he does not object to T-Mobile building a cell tower in Medford but does not feel the land in question is the right location.

It should be in a more isolated area. From a land use perspective, a residential community is not a good place for an industrial application of this kind. There is a need to find a place where a tower would be less intrusive and not have such a large visual and audible (due to the generator) impact on natural resources.”

* * *

We agree. At the Monmouth Church of Christ, the cell tower will be only 120 feet to the nearest residence. How about that large visual and audible impact? Does T-Mobile make any effort at proper placement of towers, or do they just say we have the Telecommunications Act of 1996 behind us, so screw your zoning laws, we dare you to stop us?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12/9/10 article in The Hub

Neighbors unite to block cell tower
T-Mobile seeks approval for tower on church property

TINTON FALLS — A group of residents have hired an attorney and started a nonprofit organization in an attempt to block a proposed cell tower from being constructed in their neighborhood.

Members of the group, known as RACE (Residents Against Cell Tower Exploitation), attended the Dec. 2 Zoning Board meeting for the continuation of a cell tower application by T-Mobile.

The proposed tower is slated to be located at the Church of Christ property at 312 Hance Ave. RACEVice PresidentAllisonWinter said the group’s main concern is safety.

“For us, the main safety concern is it is unknown what the effects are,” she said in an interview at the Zoning Board meeting. “There haven’t been any longitudinal studies because this hasn’t been around long enough.

“We do not want our children to be the guinea pigs of the potential dangers of the cell towers,” she added.

Winter said that she and RACE President Nancy DeSimone together have five children under the age of 10, and she is concerned about their health.

DeSimone also said she is unhappy with the church’s failure to alert the neighborhood about the proposal.

“The Monmouth Church of Christ has been in negotiations with T-Mobile for over a year and we just found out about this in July with about 10 days before the Zoning Board meeting,” she said. “The church never approached us, they never let us know anything that was going on until we got a certified letter saying this is what is going to happen.”

During the first hearing on the application in July, the hearing room was filled with about 100 people opposing the cell tower.

“We had well over 100 people, we had fliers, we had a ton of support,” DeSimone said. “We really rallied and we still do have a great deal of support.”

However, at the most recent hearing, one in a series of hearings on the application, only a handful of residents were in attendance and DeSimone said long meetings and the inability to speak freely have drawn attendance down.

DeSimone said RACE became a nonprofit organization and has hired attorney Michael Laffey to represent them legally.

She explained why the group became a nonprofit entity.

“There are only three of us footing the bill for our attorney, something we can’t just pull out of our pockets,” she said. “We have a good deal of support from the community.”

During the hearing, T-Mobile presented engineer Kunjan Shukla as an expert witness.

Shukla said that the tower would meet height and parking requirements, but would need a variance because of its proximity to residences.

He also testified that the tower would be safe. During previous hearings, T-Mobile witnesses stated that the tower would meet all emission standards and would not emit enough radiation to put residents living in bordering properties at risk.

A 2007 application by the Board of Education to build a cell tower at Mahala F. Atchison School drew widespread opposition and was never constructed.

DeSimone said the need for the tower isn’t great.

“One of our neighbors has T-Mobile and has no problem whatsoever,” she said. “They are saying it’s about cell service but really it’s about data transfer.”

Winter said that in a future hearing RACE will suggest various locations around the borough that would be better suited for a cell tower.

“There are other proposed sites where they can get their coverage without leasing in a residential area,” she said. “There are other places to put this.”

The hearings will be on hold for the time being, but DeSimone said they should reconvene in January or February, when RACE will have a chance to testify and present expert witnesses to the board.

“I would say February would be the big meeting,” she said. “We are hoping for a good decision.”

Contact Kenny Walter at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Discrepancies in Plan Drawings by T-Mobile

Notice how in the first diagram of the fall-out zone from the cell tower, the 120-foot radius just about touches the property line of Lot 12.

Now notice in the second diagram from the cell tower to Lot 12, the same measurement from the pole to the property line of Lot 12 listed at 155.1 feet.

The same measurement, two different numbers?? So we measured it and it was 124 feet consistent with the first drawing. T-Mobile's site engineer testified about noise standards at 155 feet to the nearest property and that they were within the decibel standards for the State of NJ. How about at the true measurement of 124 feet, and actually the equipment cabinets would be 114 feet from the nearest residence, do they still meet the standards? Was this an intentional misrepresentation or an honest mistake??

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yes, Cell Phone Towers Do Collapse

At the 12/2/2010 Zoning Board meeting, T-Mobile's site engineer testified under oath that he never in his career heard about a cell phone tower collapsing. Well, we did a quick search for him and found two examples. Here's the first article from the MetroWest Daily News from 2009:

* * *

"A cell phone tower collapsed right off Route 9 eastbound early Friday afternoon, after a fire started underneath the tower while welders were working on it.

The fire burned for about 20 to 25 minutes, said Wellesley Police Sgt. Glen Gerrans. The tower collapsed before firefighters, who were waiting for power to be cut, could begin putting out the fire. No one was hurt, according to Gerrans.

'Underneath [the base of the tower] are electronic boxes that contain switching equipment and so forth,' Gerrans said, pointing to the still smoking tower, 'and the workmen were working on that part underneath the actual cell phone tower itself using welding equipment and that’s what started the fire.'

Once the welders realized there was a fire, they ran away from the tower, Gerrans said.

The top of the tower fell a few feet from the entrance of the closed and uninhabited Wellesley Travel Inn. A group of onlookers from Lee Volvo and Lee Jaguar of Wellesley stood outside their offices, watching as fire and policemen worked the scene.

'Well the fire just started on the top and it was coming up the wires on the side and then all the fire trucks came, and it kept burning,' Tommy Richards of Lee Volvo said. 'I thought it was going to come onto our lot and it kind of would’ve been in the way. So I was glad it went the other way.'"

Adam Tausevich, a technician with Lee Jaguar, said he saw the cell phone tower catch fire. Concerned that the tower would fall onto the car lot, Tausevich said he and several colleagues started moving cars out of the way, just in case.

“Smoke just started coming out of it and then flames and I got video of it just crashing to the ground,” he said. “It was kind of cool. Something different. You don’t usually see that every day. Most excitement for today, I would say.”

* * *

Here's one more article from the Sioux City Journal:

* * *

"VERMILLION, S.D. -- A cellular phone tower collapse onto South Dakota Highway 50 stopped traffic for nearly two hours Saturday morning.

The Western Wireless (Cellular One) tower collapsed at 7 a.m. about four miles east of Vermillion. The two westbound lanes were closed until 8:45 a.m. when Department of Transportation crews were able to move the tower. Traffic was rerouted until then.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office investigated and determined the cause of the collapse to be metal fatigue involving one of three support cable anchors. The anchor failure occurred approximately six feet underground.

The collapse is affecting cellular phone service in the Interstate 29 area between Beresford and Jefferson. Cellular One representatives said they will build a temporary tower to restore service."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Article in AARP Bulletin re Tinton Falls cell tower

Cell Towers? Not in My Backyard!

Residents want broadband but call the towers an eyesore and worry about property values

from: AARP Bulletin | November 29, 2010

When Meg Rubinstein bought a home three years ago in Greenbriar Falls, an upscale 55-plus community in Tinton Falls, N.J., a big selling point of the area was its beauty. She lives on a corner, next to woods, and often sees wildlife from her window. This summer, however, Rubinstein learned that T-Mobile Northeast hoped to erect a 120-foot cell tower in a church yard across the street from her. She is not happy about the news.

"Cellphone towers are industrial structures and need to be confined to commercial or industrial properties and not pollute neighborhood communities," she said. Rubinstein fears that not only will the tower be an eyesore, it will decimate her property value. So she and others who live near the church are attending the town zoning board meetings in an attempt to stop construction of the tower. Some of them have hired a lawyer.

A cellphone tower may be coming to your community soon, too, if it hasn't already. According to CTIA — The Wireless Association, a nonprofit that represents wireless companies, there are more than 251,000 cell sites in the United States, an increase of almost 5,000 sites over the past year. Thanks to the proliferation of cellphones and other wireless devices, wireless providers need to increase wireless broadband and data network capacity to satisfy their current customers and to attract new ones. As a result, they are stepping up efforts to add more sites.

Residents aren't shy

When word gets around that a tower may be moving into a neighborhood, residents opposed to the idea are not shy about speaking up. The federal government prohibits towns from restricting cellphone towers on health grounds, yet residents continually cite health fears. While many experts say that the radio frequency waves emitted by the towers pose no danger — the towers are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission — people who don't agree say it is too soon to know the long-term effects.

In Altadena, Calif., natural health educator and radio host Revvell Revati, 61, was part of a group that opposed the construction of a cell tower on nearby church property two years ago. "It would have been right across the street from me. I was upset," she said. Altadena residents succeeded in thwarting the effort, however. "The community group said we couldn't talk about health, so we won on aesthetics," Revati said.

Unfortunately for residents like Rubinstein and Revati, contributions to churches have taken a hit in this economy, so they're a prime target for cellphone companies dangling lucrative lease agreements in exchange for allowing them to locate a tower on the property. Cellphone firms are also wooing firehouses, private citizens and towns themselves — towers are being erected on both public and private property, and there's a federal initiative to extend broadband access to remote and rural areas.

Some residents have criticized the way their local governments have handled the issue. Morton Bleetstein, a retired financial planner who lives in a gated community in North Hills, Long Island, protested when Sprint erected a cell tower near him eight years ago. "It was the way it was done — there were no hearings, nothing. We were fuming," Bleetstein said. The tower was in full view of the community, about 60 or 70 feet above the tree line, he recalled. When the residents pressed the North Hills Village Board to have the tower removed, Sprint agreed to reduce its height by half.

Boomers want broadband

To be sure, boomers, as they age, will benefit from improved broadband access — in greater access to mobile health applications and emergency services. Still, those who moved to their homes or retirement communities when they were cell tower-free insist that there must be alternative locations for the towers.

Ann Brooks, a spokesperson for T-Mobile, said that the ability for carriers to select cell tower location is crucial, however. "Close to 25 percent of Americans are wireless households — they have cut their landlines and are using only their wireless devices to keep in touch with their businesses and families. We've got to provide the infrastructure that allows them to use their phones when and where they want. That means we are going closer to residential areas," she said.

Lawyer Norman Albert represented Union County, N.J., when a group of cellular providers wanted to erect a tower on the grounds of a swim club in the town of Cranford in 2008. Local residents voiced the increasingly common concerns about property values and potential health hazards, while the county argued that the beauty of a nearby park would be affected. The wireless companies failed to make the case that the tower was necessary. Albert, 56, who lives in Cranford, said recently that he sympathizes with the residents — he would not have wanted a tower near his house, either. "But as more cases happen, cellphone companies will get more sophisticated in how they present and appeal these cases," he noted.

The "stealth solution"

In some areas, towers are designed to look like a pine or palm tree, which cellphone companies say fit well with the scenery, as opposed to the readily identifiable steel monopole design. Companies such as Engineered Endeavors and Stealth Network Technologies have disguised the towers to resemble saguaro cacti, flagpoles, clock towers and lighthouses. Antennas have also been hidden in church steeples and placed on water towers.

These "stealth solutions" are one way in which carriers are trying to appease residents, said Brian Josef, director of regulatory affairs for CTIA. "Carriers have responded in a number of ways to try to address coverage issues while being respectful of consumers' concerns about more towers," he added. For example, besides "stealth antennas," they have introduced smaller antennas that can be placed on utility and light poles for increased coverage. He also noted that people can buy free-standing, mini-cell sites for the home, called "femtocells," for better service for mobile phones.

Such solutions might have mollified Northville, Conn., resident Eric Jones, 46, who spoke out at a local zoning commission meeting against construction of a cell tower on his road two years ago. "I didn't see the need for it. Cell phone service is a convenience, not a necessity. I was worried about whether it would be visible," Jones said. Like others, the medical laboratory worker was concerned that it would decrease property values. The cellphone company won the argument that the tower was needed in Northville, and it was erected.

It is not only the unsightliness of the towers that angers residents; some people take issue with the research indicating that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the towers does not pose a problem. The Federal Communications Commission states on its website: "Measurements made near typical cellular and PCS installations, especially those with tower-mounted antennas, have shown that ground-level power densities are thousands of times less than the FCC's limits for safe exposure." Some residents argue that cellular technology is too new to be certain about the long-term effects, however, and further studies are needed. To be sure, the subject elicits strong feelings from opponents, especially among those concerned about their children's safety.

For Jones and his neighbors, the fight is over. In numerous other towns, however, the controversy rages on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Real Reason for the Tower

The cell phone companies need to install cell towers now because they have promised their customers complete internet services on their cell phones. That is NOT what cell phones were created for and NOT what the FCC should be promoting. Cell phone internet has NOTHING to do with the public good or the delivering of a "public utility." Cell phone internet has EVERYTHING to do with making MONEY for the cell phone companies... PERIOD.

The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 is being perverted for economic gain by the cell phone companies delivering non-critical, optional "internet service" which has nothing to do with "wireless voice communications," nor was this ever envisioned by the FCC in 1996.

For this perversion of a public utility for pure profit we find ourselves confronted by a cell tower every 4 blocks being duplicated along the way by every company out there. The cell phone companies will make their cell phone internet profits at the expense of our health, our neighborhoods, and neighbors. This represents the pinnacle of economic perversion by a cell phone company hiding behind the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the FCC, all for the money they will make when people access the internet on their Chinese made iPhones.

New York Times article from 11/13/2010

Should You Be Snuggling With Your Cellphone?
Published: November 13, 2010

WARNING: Holding a cellphone against your ear may be hazardous to your health. So may stuffing it in a pocket against your body.

I’m paraphrasing here. But the legal departments of cellphone manufacturers slip a warning about holding the phone against your head or body into the fine print of the little slip that you toss aside when unpacking your phone. Apple, for example, doesn’t want iPhones to come closer than 5/8 of an inch; Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s manufacturer, is still more cautious: keep a distance of about an inch.

The warnings may be missed by an awful lot of customers. The United States has 292 million wireless numbers in use, approaching one for every adult and child, according to C.T.I.A.-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry’s primary trade group. It says that as of June, about a quarter of domestic households were wireless-only.

If health issues arise from ordinary use of this hardware, it would affect not just many customers but also a huge industry. Our voice calls — we chat on our cellphones 2.26 trillion minutes annually, according to the C.T.I.A. — generate $109 billion for the wireless carriers.

The cellphone instructions-cum-warnings were brought to my attention by Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and has published a book about cellphone radiation, “Disconnect.” I had assumed that radiation specialists had long ago established that worries about low-energy radiation were unfounded. Her book, however, surveys the scientific investigations and concludes that the question is not yet settled.

Brain cancer is a concern that Ms. Davis takes up. Over all, there has not been a general increase in its incidence since cellphones arrived. But the average masks an increase in brain cancer in the 20-to-29 age group and a drop for the older population.

“Most cancers have multiple causes,” she says, but she points to laboratory research that suggests mechanisms by which low-energy radiation could damage cells in ways that could possibly lead to cancer.

Children are more vulnerable to radiation than adults, Ms. Davis and other scientists point out. Radiation that penetrates only two inches into the brain of an adult will reach much deeper into the brains of children because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more absorptive fluid. No field studies have been completed to date on cellphone radiation and children, she says.

Henry Lai, a research professor in the bioengineering department at the University of Washington, began laboratory radiation studies in 1980 and found that rats exposed to radiofrequency radiation had damaged brain DNA. He maintains a database that holds 400 scientific papers on possible biological effects of radiation from wireless communication. He found that 28 percent of studies with cellphone industry funding showed some sort of effect, while 67 percent of studies without such funding did so. “That’s not trivial,” he said.

The unit of measurement for radiofrequency exposure is called the specific absorption rate, or SAR. The Federal Communications Commission mandates that the SAR produced by phones be no more than 1.6 watts per kilogram. One study listed by Mr. Lai found effects like loss of memory in rats exposed to SAR values in the range of 0.0006 to 0.06 watts per kilogram. “I did not expect to see effects at low levels,” he said.

The city of San Francisco passed an ordinance this year that requires cellphone retailers to post SARs prominently. This angered the C.T.I.A., which announced that it would no longer schedule trade shows in the city.

The association maintains that all F.C.C.-approved phones are perfectly safe. John Walls, the association’s vice president for public affairs, said: “What science tells us is, ‘If the sign on the highway says safe clearance is 12 feet,’ it doesn’t matter if your vehicle is 4 feet, 6 feet or 10 feet tall; you’re going to pass through safely. The same theory applies to SAR values and wireless devices.”

The association has set up a separate Web site, Four attractive young people are seen on the home page, each with a cellphone pressed against the ear — and all four are beaming as they listen. By this visual evidence, cellphone use seems to be correlated with elation, not cancer.

The largest study of cellphone use and brain cancer has been the Interphone International Case-Control Study, in which researchers in 13 developed countries (but not the United States) participated. It interviewed brain cancer patients, 30 to 59 years old, from 2000 to 2004, then cobbled together a control group of people who had not regularly used a cellphone.

The study concluded that using a cellphone seemed to decrease the risk of brain tumors, which the authors acknowledged was “implausible” and a product of the study’s methodological shortcomings.

The authors included some disturbing data in an appendix available only online. These showed that subjects who used a cellphone 10 or more years doubled the risk of developing brain gliomas, a type of tumor.

The 737 minutes that we talk on cellphones monthly, on average, according to the C.T.I.A., makes today’s typical user indistinguishable from the heavy user of 10 years ago. Ms. Davis recommends keeping a phone out of close proximity to the head or body, by using wired headsets or the phone’s speaker. Children should text rather than call, she said, and pregnant women should keep phones away from the abdomen.

The F.C.C. concurs about the best way to avoid exposure. It is not by choosing a phone with a marginally lower SAR, it says, but rather by holding the cellphone “away from the head or body.”

It’s advice that I find hard to put into practice myself. The comforting sight of everyone around me with phones pressed against their ears, just like me, makes the risk seem abstract.

But Ms. Davis, citing unsettling findings from research in Israel, France, Sweden and Finland, said, “I do think I’m looking at an epidemic in slow motion."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A cell tower every mile and a half in a residential zone??

Here's an exchange from the third hearing between a Zoning Board member (Mr. Lomangino) and T-Mobile's radiofrequency engineer (Mr. Alcon)

"MR. LOMANGINO: So I don't understand, if you are having this problem within a mile or mile and a half of each other, of your solving one problem but causing yourself another problem, are these cell towers going to be popping up every three miles exactly?
MR. ALCON: Yes, sir.
MR. LOMANGINO: Is that where we are headed?
MR. ALCON: As I stated in the last hearing, they are approximately between a mile and a mile and a half in distance, yes, sir."

* * *

Placement of even a single commercial cell tower in a residential zone of our Township will set irreversible legal precedents in our town.

Such placement will mandate that all other carriers be granted equal access if they want to apply for similar cell tower placements within the Community.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another church that actually reaches out to the community (unlike Monmouth Church of Christ)

Monmouth Church of Christ went ahead with this application without one iota of community outreach, no response to any meeting requests, no answers to any e-mails. Why no outreach at all? Can't they at least hear our concerns and have a dialogue? At the third Zoning Board meeting, Pastor Rix came in with about eight other leaders of the church, testified as to contractual issues for about 15 minutes, and then the entire church delegation immediately got up and left when he was done and didn't even see fit to be inconvenienced to stay for the meeting.

Cell tower concerns the parents at St. Andrew's

By Brian Babcock
Posted: 11/08/2010 07:31:32 PM PST

Parents of students attending St. Andrew's Episcopal School have expressed their concerns about St. Andrew's Episcopal Church's plan to allow T-Mobile to construct a cell phone tower in a church steeple. And school and church administrators have listened.

A lawyer has been hired by St. Andrew's to "reach out to T-Mobile" in hopes of terminating the contract the church signed with the telecommunications company last year.

"I always want to pay close attention to the feelings of the community," said Harry McKay, head of schools at St. Andrew's.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Warning sign required to be posted by cell towers

"'Cellular phone towers, like cellular phones themselves, are a relatively new technology, and we do not yet have full information on health effects,'" according to a summary of radio frequency (RF) waves cell towers at 'In particular, not enough time has elapsed to permit epidemiologic studies.'"

So what a great idea to put this tower 110 feet from eight children under the age of 10 who live on Riverdale Avenue East and about 10 feet from the Monmouth Church of Christ's own playground and next-door to the Tinton Falls Cooperative Nursery School. Shouldn't we err on the side of caution?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two quotes that appear on Church web site

"Be shepherds of God's flock that are under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money"

Not greedy for money?? That seems like a contradiction to what's going on here.

"When we must make decisions necessary for the direction of the church's journey with God, we do so with consideration for the views of others"

With consideration for the views of others?? That's an absolutely comical statement. There was absolutely no consideration of others, absolutely no outreach to anyone in the community, absolutely no attempt to answer any letters or e-mails from anyone. This has been a secretive process from day one.

Here's a quote from an article about a church leader taking his neighbors into consideration: "I am the treasurer of a small church, and appreciate how welcome extra income would be. But we strive to abide by the Golden Rule and would never, for silver or other payment, do something detrimental to our neighbors like contracting for a 6-story cell tower."

This church leader wouldn't even consider a 6-story cell tower. I wonder what he would say to a 13-story cell tower.

Not that anyone ever has the courtesy to respond, but their e-mail is

Monday, October 25, 2010

Money Changes Everything

Wow, here's a snippet from an article. No wonder why Monmouth Church of Christ is "celling out" their neighborhood and the safety of children if they're getting anywhere near this kind of money (although we don't know because they have refused to testify to the specific amount)

"T-Mobile will pay all expenses for the stealth tower to be installed at the north station. The North Bellmore Fire District will also receive rent from T-Mobile. Gibbons said that the rent from the new tower would likely be near $140,000 annually."

How about the houses that are within 110 feet of this monstrosity they want to build, any chance that the Church will share some of that money with the residents whose home values and quality of life are destroyed? How about the nursery school next door to the Church, any chance the Church will compensate them for their probable decreased enrollment, as what parent would send a preschooler to play on a playground with a cell tower hovering over it?

The Church leaders and parishioners will come by to worship Sunday mornings for an hour and go home and yet collect all this money. The residents will live under this monstrosity and its radiation emissions 24/7. Where's the fairness?

We welcome any response from the Church, just click on the comment button below.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another interesting article

T-Mobile’s Big Lie
The Company that Claims to Love Kids Wants to Give them Cell Phone Tower Health Risks, Too
By David Steinman
All over television land, mobile cell phone company T-Mobile is running its kids are free ads. Join the T-Mobile network and your kids get free service. Why? Because T-Mobile just absolutely adores your kids, or so the new company line goes.
But, in fact, T-Mobile is playing fast and loose with kids’ health when it comes to “planting” microwave cell phone towers—especially as the company, shall we say, has a penchant for setting up their eyesores by elementary schools and parks, despite accumulating evidence that cell phone towers are linked with reproductive effects on the developing fetus. The big question is this: Is there a T-Mobile cell phone tower coming to your neighborhood next? Your local park? The answer could very well be yes, since regulating cell phone towers locally is a whole new frontier with plenty of federal intervention potentially limiting what local communities can do. Be fearful. Very fearful.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letter from a Greenbriar Falls resident to Monmouth Church of Christ

Minister Rix, Mark Ciliento, Ashok Bruno,

Last week your outdoor bulletin board read "Together in Christ" in both English and Spanish. This is a lovely thought since it creates the impression that Monmouth Church of Christ fosters unity and peace. However, your current actions are placing you at odds with the concept of creating unity and peace. Your action of permitting T-Mobile to erect a 120-foot cell tower on your property does not foster unity, but instead is causing severe distress to your neighbors.

We all are experiencing difficult economic times. Your cell tower decision will further economic distress in this neighborhood by lowering the property values not just of the adjacent homes, but of those within the sight of the proposed tower.

The Elders' decision to provide a home for such an offensive sight is inconsistent with fostering community unity. We nearby residents perceive your actions as a "sell-out" of your own community and neighborhood for profit.

We hope that you reconsider your divisive actions and instead work towards reconciliation with your community.

Opinion piece published in the Asbury Park Press

Cell Phone Towers Unwanted, Unneeded

Last week we received a letter informing us that T-Mobile is proposing to locate a 120-foot cell tower in the rear yard of the Monmouth Church of Christ on Hance Avenue in Tinton Falls.

Our house is next to that rear yard, and any cell phone tower will negatively affect us and our neighborhood.

Some of the families in this area have lived here for more than 30 years. Who will want to buy our houses when they turn onto our street and see a cell phone tower?

The church will benefit financially if this is approved, but at our expense. I'm all for private parties making money by agreeing to have these towers on their property - if that property isn't in a residential area.

With the need for increased broadband access, maybe more cell phone towers are needed. But not in our neighborhoods.

We want the quality of life we expect living here, which includes aesthetics. Residents in Fair Haven and Lincroft felt the same way when the cell companies tried to encroach on their neighborhoods.

When will these companies get the message? Leave our neighborhoods alone.

Pat Hensler
Tinton Falls

Great Editorial from the Home News Tribune

Public should fight cell towers at every opportunity

September 22, 2010

Colonia residents are preparing for a fight familiar to residents in many communities across Central Jersey. They want to try to prevent a proposed cell-phone tower from going up near their homes.

The problem — as those many other residents in other communities have encountered as well — is that the legal odds are stacked against them. Local zoning officials can only do so much in trying to block such a project — they need more cause than simply disliking the plan. Cell-phone providers have the Telecommunications Act of 1996 working for them, which prevents municipalities from denying a project because of health concerns or when other providers have already been allowed to mount towers.

So it's an uphill battle at best. All we can say to those Colonia residents is to fight on and exhaust your options. Because there's no reason for residents to feel they must sit back and accept another cell tower in their midst.

This isn't a typical NIMBY protest - neighbors unwilling to accept a worthy project near their own homes, regardless of the common public good it may serve. The proposal by T-Mobile for a 120-foot antenna pole at the intersection of Jordan Road and Inman Avenue is merely an effect of business competition among cell-phone providers. The relentless quest is for better and broader and clearer coverage, which explains the proliferation of towers across the Central Jersey landscape. Companies are fighting for customers and want to provide the best possible service. Good for them.

But why should any residents in any town staring at the prospect of another tower near their backyards care about that? Why should they help Company A get a leg up on Company B?

Among the public benefits the cell-phone companies like to claim — and also use as part of the legal effort to force acceptance of the projects — is to assure 911 emergency access by cell phone. The tactic has worked in the courts, but not in the court of public opinion. After all, have the old-fashioned "landlines" really become so obsolete that they don't even count anymore?

It's also important to recognize that what the providers refer to as coverage "gaps" don't typically mean areas where their service goes entirely dead. They're more often looking to shore up areas where signals are weaker. In other words, there's nothing close to a greater common good at stake here, no reason for residents to go meekly into the night.

Neighbors may not want to fight what they fear is inevitable. But those willing to get involved and search out the options receive our praise and encouragement, and many are expected to turn out at Thursday's zoning board meeting. The little guys sometimes win. But we'll never know unless they try.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Scotch Plains rejects T-Mobile tower

SCOTCH PLAINS — Neighbors of Scotch Plains’ Hillside Cemetery cheered Wednesday night when the town’s zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously rejected a proposal to build a cell phone tower there.

After months of expert testimony and public opposition, the board concluded the positive aspects of the T-Mobile plan, including improved cellular coverage and transmitting 911 calls, did not outweigh the detriment to the community.

The 125-foot monopole would have been installed in the cemetery bordering Plainfield and Edison, disguised with fake tree branches and visited monthly by a maintenance technician. A group of about 30 neighbors attended meetings throughout the spring and summer to cross-examine the cell company’s experts and argue against putting the tower in a residential neighborhood.

Board members criticized the company’s presentation, noting that while conducting an electronic survey of signal strength in the area, testers did not drive down the cul-de-sacs where most homes are located. They also criticized T-Mobile for not presenting statistics on dropped calls in the area.

“I think that has a devastatingly negative impact on the characteristic of the neighborhood,” board member Tim Livolsi said. “The tree is totally visible, It’s totally artificial, it’s completely out of character.”

Two real estate agents, Jeanmarie Wilson Keenan and Diane Cassitta, spoke separately regarding the drop in property value that could occur as a result of the tower. "I can attest that properties would drop by at least 30 percent," Wilson Keenan said.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Article about residents beating T-Mobile

You can beat City Hall and Big Brother, even if you're new to the game.

That's how a group of Northridge residents feel after persuading the city to reject an application by T-Mobile to erect a cellular tower at Saticoy Street and Louise Avenue.

"It was David going against Goliath - it's really what it was, and David won," said Clifton J. Burwell, 82, who spearheaded the opposition. "It was people power."

While T-Mobile has had other setbacks in the San Fernando Valley, what makes this decision unusual is how the corporate giant with its vast resources was beaten by a campaign led by a politically unconnected octogenarian couple and an upstart neighborhood council.

Burwell and his wife Ginette, 80, organized local opposition to the plan last summer at a time when the Northridge South Neighborhood Council was still without a board of directors.

The Burwells sometimes worked until 11 p.m. getting more than 100 neighbors to sign petitions opposing the tower.

"The reason we succeeded was the hard work the Burwells did," said Irene Boyd, a board member of the Northridge South Neighborhood Council. "This is a terrific example of what the power of the people, properly exercised, can accomplish."

Most importantly, though, may have been the long hours Burwell spent at the city's Planning Department examining documents and maps presented by T-Mobile - and finding significant discrepancies he used to discredit the company's application.

"They presented maps showing areas of the Valley where they said they didn't have coverage and didn't show towers that they actually had," said Burwell. "Their maps weren't accurate, and their work was really sloppy.

"The zoning administrator who turned down the application obviously agreed with us."

The local triumph has given renewed hope to groups fighting proposed T-Mobile towers in other Valley communities who feel the area is already saturated with cell transmitters.

According to the city zoning administrator's report denying the T-Mobile request, no fewer than 224 such towers presently exist within a four-mile radius of Saticoy and Louise, with applications pending for eight others.

Those towers belong to various cell phone service providers. Increasingly, T-Mobile has been the most active and therefore finds itself at the center of most of the neighborhood disputes.

"The simple answer for that is we're really the (cell service provider) doing an extensive build-up right now," said T-Mobile spokesman Clark Harris. "We're at a stage where we're trying to support our infrastructure and (improve) coverage within the San Fernando Valley."

Perhaps the most poignant image of those cell tower wars is T-Mobile's 45-foot transmitter tower that went up in flames last summer in the parking lot of St. Peter Armenian Church in Lake Balboa. That fire is still under investigation, but the incident looms large over the cell tower landscape.

Harris said it is the overriding reason that his company will not appeal the denial of its application to build at Saticoy and Louise.

"There's a lot of fear among the residents that a tower there would also burn down," Harris said of concerns voiced by residents.

In denying the T-Mobile building request at Saticoy and Louise, city Zoning Administrator Maya E. Zaitzevsky cited - among other determining factors - the company's proposed location "will not be desirable to the public convenience or welfare."

The latest local neighborhood uprising against T-Mobile involves a request for a conditional-use permit to erect a tower atop the upscale Fairwinds retirement resort at 8138 Woodlake Ave., West Hills.

A zoning commission hearing was held on that application Wednesday where members of the community group opposing the application came armed with information amassed from two neighborhoods that have recently won victories over T-Mobile.

Linda Thorne, a leader of the West Hills opposition group, was on the phone Monday with Burwell getting tips on fighting T-Mobile's request to erect a 70-foot-plus cell tower on top of the retirement home, which she said already sits on a 120-foot-high hill.

"It looks like they have found the key that unlocks beating T-Mobile," said Thorne, who lives near the proposed cell tower location.

Thorne's neighbors also have been consulting with a Sherman Oaks homeowners group that in August overturned a conditional-use permit granted for a T-Mobile transmitter in the 15200 block of Burbank Boulevard.

"The reason we were successful was community involvement," said Alexander Kasendorf, president of the homeowners association. "The secret is to get as many people who would be impacted involved in the process.

"Get them out to the meetings on the issue and have them voice their opinion in numbers. It will give city officials and zoning administrators a better understanding of how the community feels as opposed to whether just the (cell tower transmitter) application guidelines are followed."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Article about church that involved neighbors and listened to community input

The Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church will not pursue a proposal from T-Mobile to install a cell phone tower on its property in Bethesda after impassioned opposition from church neighbors.

More than 30 church neighbors spoke of health fears and damage to property values at a church meeting Jan. 11.

"The feeling on the part of the board was that although they did not necessarily agree with the fears the neighbors had about the dangers of the cell phone tower, it was out of respect for those fears that we would not go forward," said the Rev. Roger Fritts.

Representatives from T-Mobile did not return calls for comment.

The church received the proposal for the 130-foot cell phone tower in March. T-Mobile offered $18,000 to install it. A church committee analyzed the proposal and in August recommended the church move forward with the deal. It sent a letter to neighbors notifying them that the cell tower was under consideration.

That sparked petitions, letters and "No Cell Tower" lawn signs, culminating in the Jan. 11 meeting where nobody spoke in favor of the installation.

Lawrence Grayson of Kensington, who spoke against the tower, said initially it seemed "like a shoe-in" that the church would move forward with the installation. His expectations changed after hearing the community concerns, he said.

"After the meeting is just seemed inconceivable to me that they would go forward with the strong, strong community opposition," Grayson said.

He said the church and the neighbors have generally enjoyed a harmonious relationship, and "this will allow that to continue."

Sten Odenwald, another opponent, said he was "delighted" with the outcome. Odenwald, a physicist with has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, said though the science surrounding the health effects of cell towers is inconclusive, "nobody can tell me where I got that from," so he didn't want to take chances on radio waves being another risk factor.

Article in Asbury Park Press

Tinton Falls cell tower proposal gathers critics again

July 16, 2010 22:20 PM

TINTON FALLS - For the third time in a handful of years, a cellular telephone company has targeted land in the north end of town hoping to construct a cell phone tower.

And for the third time, a swell of opposition mounted a campaign against it, claiming the proposed 13-story tower - slated for a swath of property at 312 Hance Ave., the Monmouth Church of Christ property - was too close to residential neighborhoods and should not be built.

More than 150 residents packed the standing-room-only meeting on Thursday at the Zoning Board of Adjustment's regular meeting. They were armed with a lawyer, a petition against the proposal signed by more than 300 and a good amount of indignation.

"It just makes us sick to our stomachs," said Nancy DeSimone of Riverdale Avenue East, in an interview before the meeting. DeSimone's house is two doors away from the proposed tower.

The applicant, T-Mobile Northeast LLC, a division of T-Mobile, began testimony before around 8:30 p.m. The company planned to call four witnesses as part of its pitch to convince the board to grant a variance allowing the tower to be built. Current zoning bars the tower.

T-Mobile's testimony was expected to continue late into the night. Testimony from the company's first witness, an expert on Federal Communications Commission compliance, was under way at 9 p.m.

No decision on the tower was expected Thursday. No date for a continuation of the hearing had yet been set.

In 2007, a cell tower was slated for property near Mahala F. Atchison School, which angered residents who rallied against it. The site was not built.

In 2009, T-Mobile pitched the idea of building a tower on Apple Street. That application was withdrawn just as residents had begun to organize against it.

Tinton Falls Zoning Ordinance (ignored by Monmouth Church of Christ and T-Mobile)



A. Purpose

The purpose of this Section is to provide sound land use policies, procedures and regulations for the location and placement of wireless communication towers and antennas in order to protect the community from visual and other adverse impacts. This Section is intended to meet the mandate of the Communication Act of 1996.

B. Objectives

The objectives of this Section are to:

1. Protect residential areas and land uses from the potential adverse quality of life impacts of wireless communication towers and antennas;

2. Encourage the location of wireless communication towers on municipal property or in nonresidential areas and along major transportation corridors;

3. Minimize the total number of wireless communication towers throughout the community;

4. Encourage the co-location of new antennas on existing wireless communication towers instead of construction of additional single-user towers;

5. Encourage the location of wireless communication towers and antennas in areas where the adverse quality of life impact is minimized;

6. Encourage the location of wireless communication towers and antennas in a way that minimizes their adverse visual impact through careful design, siting, landscaping, screening, and innovative camouflaging;

7. Enhance the ability of the providers of wireless communication to provide such services to the community effectively, and efficiently;

b. The wireless communication compound shall be five hundred (500) feet from any residential zone line or residential property.