Cell Tower Eyed for Private Property in Township
Chatham Township Board of Adjustment has granted a variance for the temporary tower on residential property.
The Chatham Township Committee is expected to discuss Thursday night whether to endorse a decision by the Zoning Board of Adjustment to permit a temporary cell tower on a residential property.
T-Mobile applied to the Zoning Board for permission to install a tower along River Road in the township to provide service to customers during PSE&G's North Central Reliability Project.
Existing T-Mobile towers sit on top of PSE&G towers, which will be removed for the utility company's upgrade project. To continue service, T-Mobile has asked for towers at the Chatham Township Municipal Building and Colony Pool, and they hope for a third tower on the residential River Road property.
The Zoning Board approved a resolution which allows several variances for the antenna for T-Mobile at 610 River Rd. after they heard expert testimony and read reports on the issue. Those variances are:
- a "D-1" use variance to allow installation of wireless communications facility on a residential lot
- a "D(6)" height variance (35 feet permitted, 102 feet proposed)
- a "D-3" conditional variance for the maximum width of panel antennas (12 inches required, 13.3 inches proposed)
- and several "C" variances for the setback distance, rear yard setback distance, side yard setback distance and the height of the fence (6 feet required, 7 feet proposed.)
"The application indicates that the temporary tower ... [is] necessary to continue service to wireless customers for a two year [sic] period," the resolution reads in part, and includes proof that additional towers elsewhere in the township would not allow continued service to customers.
To install the towers, two dogwood trees will have to be removed, though the Zoning Board's resolution stipulates "four trees of similar native species [will] be planted when the area [is] restored after the temporary tower [is] removed."
The plan requires a conservation easement, in writing, from the property owner, and final determination by the Chatham Township Committee as to whether the temporary tower can be allowed.
The tower is currently listed as a discussion item, for possible resolution or ordinance, on the agenda for Thursday's committee meeting.
A full copy of the Zoning Board's resolution and the agenda for Thursday's meeting may be found in the Photos & Videos section of this article.