CRANFORD, NJ – The Zoning Board will weigh the concerns of residents living near to the site of a proposed cell tower against telecommunications companies’ need to fill gaps in their cellular networks.

The board is set to hold a public hearing Monday to review an application for site plan approval from Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile LLC and New Cingular Wireless PCS for a use variance that if granted then would allow for the construction of a cell tower at Union County College, a public notice says.

The proposal would have the tower built on the border of Westfield's 2nd Ward. The application calls for a monopole cell tower designed as a “faux tree” with branches reaching 148 feet tall, the application filed with Cranford’s Zoning Board says.

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“The applicants each have significant gaps and other deficiencies in their networks in the area that includes the Union County College Cranford Campus,” the application says. The telecommunications companies say they will demonstrate the proposed cell tower is the best way to address the coverage gaps in their network.

The proposal has drawn the ire of both residents in Cranford and neighboring Westfield, who have formed a group opposing plans for the cell tower.

“UCC/Verizon’s cell tower will have a detrimental visual impact to Cranford and Westfield residential neighborhoods and schools surrounding the campus. Verizon is capable of wireless coverage without installing a cell tower,” the group says on its Change.org page.

In June 2018, the Union County College Board of Trustees authorized a land lease to Verizon to erect a monopole cell tower, Jaime Segal, the college's spokeswoman had said.

The agreement grants the college $34,800 in annual rent, from Verizon and half of the fees, which other telecommunications companies will pay to Verizon to place their antenna on the pole, according to Segal.

The full application is posted on the website of the Township of Cranford at this link.

If you go

The hearing is set for Monday, at 7:30 p.m., in Room 107 of the Cranford Municipal Building, 8 Springfield Ave., in Cranford.

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