Attorney Calls Esternay a 'Good' Site for Cell Tower
The Chatham Township Committee has a few conditions before they will agree to let T-Mobile put a temporary cell tower at Esternay Field.
Chatham Township Attorney said he believes T-Mobile has found an alternative site for their temporary cell tower.
"They're looking at upper Esternay Field, by the power lines," Woodward said. "There's a small playground up there. It's graded and flat, it's a good location for this tower."
T-Mobile, along with AT&T, have cell towers located on top of existing PSE&G utility towers within Chatham Township. During PSE&G's North Central Reliability Project, the mobile companies needed to find alternative temporary cell tower locations so their customers do not experience any loss of service in the area.
Both companies have entered into previous agreements with the township to construct temporary cell towers in town. One, located near Colony Pool, put the gravel lot of the pool off-limits for residents. The lot is often used as for overflow parking at Chatham High School.
The second tower is located next to the Chatham Township Municipal Building.
T-Mobile previously entered into an agreement with a resident of River Road to place their temporary cell tower on residential property, but the exact location was in a conservation easement. Neighbors objected vehemently, and the Chatham Township Committee decided T-Mobile needed to find a different site.
The tower will be a 150-ft. monopole located in an enclosed area of about 30 ft. by 30 ft., similar to the one at Colony Pool. "They said it's the only way to get the service coverage area they need," Woodward said.
Woodward said T-Mobile will need power for this antenna. "They've already put in an application with JCP&E for a power hook-up" rather than using a 24/7 generator, Woodward said.
The bid speculations allow for one two-year lease with two possible one-year extensions, if necessary, depending on how long the PSE&G Northern Reliability Project goes on.
Based on his conversations with PSE&G, Woodward said, "I think this project will be completed in a year, year and a half."
The bid specifications set the minimum bid for the tower at $3,100 per month, the same as the other two towers, and will have to go to the Planning Board for approval.
Committee Member Bailey Brower, Jr. asked what would happen to the playground at Esternay. Woodward said T-Mobile would take down the playground, store it for the duration of the contract and put it back when the tower came down.
"No, no, that's unacceptable," Brower said. "They have to replace the playground."
Brower said playground equipment can get worn and is often impossible to replace once it comes down.
Committee Members Kathy Abbott and Robert Gallop agreed, with Abbott saying it was "a great idea" by Brower.
Woodward agreed to make the installation of new playground equipment a condition of the project, and the township committee will vote on a resolution approving the project for bidding at their next meeting.
Two River Road residents applauded and thanked the committee for finding an alternative location for the cell tower.