Cell Tower Up for Discussion Thursday
The township committee may introduce ordinance for the cell tower as early as Thursday's meeting.
The proposed cell tower at Esternay Field is up for discussion at the Chatham Township Committee meeting Thursday.
The tower was proposed by T-Mobile, whose experts told the township that an area of about 1.3 miles in eastern Chatham Township and New Providence would lose service if the tower was not installed.
T-Mobile usually puts its cell towers on top of PSE&G towers. During PSE&G's North Central Reliability Project, they have to remove their towers and find alternative locations. Two such locations currently exist in Chatham Township, one at Colony Pool and one at the Chatham Township Municipal Building.
Township Attorney Carl Woodward said he put conditions into the tower's contract, which cellular companies can bid on, that will ensure the tower is taken down within three years.
Stacey Ewald, who sent a Letter to the Editor about the tower, asked how the township could guarantee the tower would indeed be temporary.
"That property is [in the township's] open space inventory," Woodward said. "The tower can never become permanent."
The contract is for two years, with a possible one-year extension by permission of the committee. Any longer, Woodward said, and the state would get involved. "It would be a virtually impossibly project," he said.
Also, Woodward specified that the cell company must take down the playground at the start of the contract and put a new playground in once the tower comes down.
While T-Mobile is the only company that has expressed an interest, Woodward said, "after all these things were put in, they may not want it anymore."
The committee will also vote on two ordinances establishing service charges for the township's two water pollution control (WPC) systems, both up for second hearing.
Fees two systems, known as WPC1 and WPC2, will be raised for the first time in several years effective Jan. 1, if the ordinances pass.
According to the ordinances, the fees for WPC1 will be $700 for a single-family dwelling without an accessory office use, $1,400 with an accessory office use, $31 for a church and $6.35 per 100 ft. cubed of water with a minimum $700 charge annually.
For WPC2, which services most of the condominiums in town, the fee will be $570 annually for a manor house or townhouse, effective Jan. 1.
The Chatham Township Committee meets at the Chatham Township Municipal Building at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. A full copy of the agenda can be found in the Photos & Documents section of this article.