Thursday, February 17, 2011

Article re 2/17/11 Borough Council meeting

T-Mobile cell tower might move out of Tinton Falls neighborhood and onto the Parkway

Mayor and council unanimously agree to support proposal by Turnpike Authority to relocate tower from Riverdale section to the Parkway.
By Amy Byrnes

Residents of Hance Avenue and Riverdale Avenue East in Tinton Falls received a glimmer of hope Tuesday night that the cell tower proposed by T-Mobile to go up in their neighborhood might be packing its bags and moving.

The borough was contacted earlier in the week by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority with a proposal to replace a temporary tower on the Garden State Parkway at mile 108.3 with the T-Mobile tower, according to Borough Administrator Gerald M. Turning.

The mayor and council voted unanimously Monday night to support that proposal and present the plan to T-Mobile at a meeting next week, said Turning.

“The idea is to get that tower out of a residential area,” he said, explaining that the informal vote was to ensure the proposal had the support of the town before discussing with T-Mobile.

The wireless company filed plans to build the 120-foot tower on the property of the Monmouth Church of Christ on Hance Road in July. A site-plan expert for T-Mobile was slated to present to the board earlier in the month, which was then rescheduled for March 17.

Meg Rubinstein, who lives in the Greenbrier Falls development and has been active in protesting the proposed tower, described it as a "pine tree on steroids." The tower was initially proposed behind her development on Apple Street near Sheila Drive, she said, about 40-feet from her townhouse.

The current plan requires multiple variances for approval including setbacks modified from 500-feet to 155-feet.

Turning said that cell towers can be spotted “every 15 miles or so” along the Parkway and while it’s probably not an “ideal” location for T-Mobile, it’s a fair compromise with the borough and the residents.

Rubinstein said, "That's where it belongs, it doesn't belong in a neighborhood."

Residents living near the proposed cell tower were very active protesting its approval, even picketing in front of the church on the weekends, posting signs in their yards and hiring an attorney, according to Dale Diamond whose home is a stone's thrown from the proposed site.

He said the audience at Tuesday night's meeting gave the mayor and council a standing ovation after the vote "for their work to keep an intrusive cell tower out of a residential area where children play outside."

“(The residents) had every right to complain,” Turning said.

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