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Township Residents Out to Stop Cell Antennas from Being Placed Around Water Tower

Ed Barmakian

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 • 11:25pm

CHATHAM, NJ - Katherine Weisgerber is leading Chatham Township residents in a campaign to stop AT&T's application for a variance that would allow the cell phone company to install 12 antennas on the water tank located between Buxton Road and Huron Drive.

The Board of Adjustment will meet 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 to hear the application at the Township Municipal Building, 38 Meyersville Road.

The 101-foot high antennas would be placed around the 105-foot water tank, inside an enclosure. Residents have placed campaign signs stating their opposition to the cell towers.

"My children’s swing set is approximately 6 feet from that fence," Weisgerber, of 11 Huron Drive, said. "I had the opportunity to look at the plans. Our arguments are very simple. We’re worried about our property value and the anesthetics. It’s already 105 feet and now we’re going to add additional issues. Is there a gap in service?  Is there a reason to have this in our town?"

Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator explains what is being proposed:

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Carl Woodward, township attorney, advised Weisgerber at last week's Township Committee meeting about what residents in opposition are up against.

"Attend all the meetings," Woodward said. "Your mere presence there is important. Having good, articulate arguments based on the application itself is the way you are going to best present your case. Understand, there is a federal law that gives priority to the placement of cell phone antennas. That’s an issue you’ll have to deal with. We have tried to cover our zoning issues carefully so that there is minimal impact from cell towers. That doesn't’t mean someone is not going to come in and ask for a variance to do it."

Weisgerber noted that the designated use for the area is strictly residential. There is a higher standard for putting a commercial interest in a residential zone. Woodward cautioned, however, that the federal law giving priority to the placement of cell antennas is a high hurdle to clear for those in opposition.

See the videos of Carl Woodward's advice to residents below:

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