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.