October 20, 2013 at 9:56 AM
RANDOLPH, NJ - On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the Randolph Township Council held a special meeting to discuss a possible cell tower replacement behind the municipal building. An emergency management committee has been set up in response to recent weather related emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy and the Halloween storm in 2011. The intent of this committee is to determine how the township can achieve better communication during times of emergency.
The committee has already begun to make some changes in Randolph, including the emergency Swift 911 notification system, a town Facebook page, and a digital message sign in front of the municipal building. Joanne Veech, a member of the township council, said, “We learned the hard way that we really need our cell phones in emergencies.” The township therefore decided to revisit its exploration of a new and improved cell tower in Randolph. The town hired PierCon Solutions, LLC to analyze the existing levels of radio frequency in the environment. Their findings were compared to the FCC guidelines for acceptable human exposure to radiofrequency fields.
Glen Pierson from PierCon, an engineer specializing in wireless communications, presented at the meeting. He reviewed the existing baseline coverage from the four major cellular providers, which are Verizon, AT& T, Sprint and T-Mobile. He analyzed both the existing baseline coverage as well as the existing radiofrequency environment. It was concluded that the radiofrequency environment in the area today is within the existing FCC guidelines. It was also determined that replacing the current 120-foot tower with a new 140-foot tower would not increase the radiofrequency in the environment by any significant amount that would be considered unsafe by the FCC. All of the technical details of this report can be found on the Randolph Township website link PierCon Reports).
When the public portion of the meeting began, one concerned resident shared some research she found on the internet regarding the impact of unsafe radio waves on children. She pointed out that the proposed tower is directly across from the Middle School and the High School. Other residents felt that Pierson’s findings show that a new cell tower would impose minimal increase in risk, and stated that improving our communication in times of emergency is their primary safety concern.
Randolph Mayor Thomas MacArthur said, “This is the very beginning of discussions on this subject, and this is the first of many meetings to present the research conducted by PierCon Solutions.” MacArthur concluded the meeting, assuring the attendees that this topic would be placed on a future agenda. He invited the public to once again attend and voice their opinions.