CRANFORD – The approval process for the construction a new cell tower in Cranford has been put on hold.
The township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment had been expected to consider an application to construct a cell tower on Union County College’s Cranford campus during their regular meeting Monday night. The board delayed the public hearing on the application after hearing from attorneys representing multiple involved parties.
“We are willing to adjourn the hearing tonight,” said Gregory Meese, attorney for the applicants Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile LLC and New Cingular Wireless PCS. “We don’t want to have any perception out there that we're looking to rush.”
Meese said he agreed to the adjournment after receiving a letter from attorney Rob Simon. The letter stated that Simon’s clients, who oppose the construction, did not have the adequate time to prepare for the meeting, Meese said.
Simon represents the organization Union County Residents United Inc., which describes itself as “a group created in opposition to the proposed cell tower on the Cranford campus of Union County College.”
A new date for the hearing remains unclear. The board’s next regular meeting will be held August 12, but the board may instead schedule a special meeting to consider the application.
“[The rescheduled hearing] can be either after the August 12 meeting, or even before the August 12 meeting. I’m not trying to hold up the applicants,” Simon said. “We just ask that all parties be consulted.”
Several members of Union County Residents United, Inc. attended the meeting.
“There should never be a cell tower in a residential area. Period. End of story,” said Chemda Mindy Kipness, a representative from the group who spoke to TAPinto after learning that the hearing was postponed. Kipness declined to comment on whether she felt the hearing should have been rescheduled, instead deferring to her attorney’s statement.
A Change.org petition opposing the tower’s construction, started by Kipness on behalf of the organization, has reached 1,230 signatures as of this writing.
The application submitted to the board by the cell companies calls for a monopole cell tower designed as a “faux tree” with branches reaching 148 feet tall. The cell companies secured a land lease from the college last June to build the tower. The full application submitted to Cranford’s Zoning Board is posted on the township’s website.