CHATHAM TOWNSHIP – On Thursday night, the Chatham Township Board of Adjustment approved an application for T-Mobile to add an additional communications antenna to an existing cell tower in the town.
Attorney Richard Schneider submitted the application for the variance on behalf of T-Mobile Northeast.  He expected the approval process to move through quickly - and it did.
The antenna, which will be installed on a 100-foot cellular tower located at 529 Green Village Road, will address several mile-long gaps in coverage.
Those coverage areas have been evaluated by radio frequency engineer Joseph Menio as several mile-plus long stretches along Meyersville Road, Woodland Road, Village Road and Pleasantville Road.
The variance granted was classified as a D1 use variance. Technically, wireless telecommunications is not permitted in the zone in which the tower currently exists; however, a cellular tower already exists on the location. The variance application is for the addition of an antenna co-located with other providers.
“It seems to me that co-location of providers on a single site is a good thing to promote for further cell phone use,” said board Chairwoman Therese Hough. “I think that cell phone use is something that we all need and want and seem to think that it's a reasonable application.”
The board unanimously approved the variance for the antenna.
The board and the applicants noted that carrier co-location was planned from the time the tower was erected.
“This is precisely why we went through the installation of the pole the last time - - to increase co-location,” said board member Parker Godwin.
Applicants for the variance said that an additional small cable bridge and an air conditioner would need to be installed on the site and would have very limited visual impact.
A compliance officer with Pinnacle telecom, Mark Nidele, said that the new antenna would not affect the level for radio frequency in the area, which is 170 times below the FCC limit.