Verizon to consider other cell tower sites in Jackson
JACKSON, Dec 27, 2012 (Asbury Park Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A proposed cell phone tower has ignited the ire of residents living near Eltone Road.
Verizon Wireless sought approval to erect a tower there to fill a weak spot in the phone company's coverage area.
But opponents said the plan does not conform to Jackson's land-use rules.
Bradley Gagnon and wife Jennifer Thayer of Eltone Road said the tower would stand across the street from their house and would be close enough that should it fall it could land on their home. The cellular pole, if approved, would be less than 200 feet from the couple's house.
"We bought our house a year ago," said Gagnon, who said the pole would be a hazard. "We want to start a family here."
Other neighbors objected to Verizon's proposal to use a lot size of about an acre, when Jackson municipal code requires five acres.
More than 40 neighbors who gathered last week at a township Zoning Board meeting also objected to the tower's height. With a lightning rod, it would be 130 feet tall. Municipal code permits towers for a single cellular company to be 100 feet tall.
"I fully understand Verizon's position," said Jim Polizzi of Pembroke Drive, "(but) it violates many of the zoning codes that we have."
Jackson allows cellular towers in residential neighborhoods in some circumstances, said David Karlebach, a planner representing Verizon.
"There's a manifest need for improved wireless telecommunications," he said.
"I think it (a complete wireless network) is necessary to protect the health and safety of all the citizens of the United States," Karlebach said.
To acquiesce to the concerns of neighbors, officials representing Verizon agreed to postpone the proposal before the Zoning Board until Feb. 6. That will give the company time to investigate alternate sites, Verizon representatives said.
The representatives said the location requirements of cellular towers are more specific than other types of utilities, which may limit the ability to use nearby locations.
Amanda Oglesby: 732-557-5701; firstname.lastname@example.org
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