Sussex County News

Sparta Township Asked to Prohibit Proposed Pole Project

Timothy McDonald talking with Verizon's Mark Bocchieri Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Timothy McDonald addressed Sparta Township Council at the May 23 meeting about the Sparta Milton Road project Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Timothy McDonald's rendering of the proposed fiber project. Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Stake in the ground marking a proposed pole placement. Credits: Jennifer Dericks
On Sparta Milton Road looking at the proposed placement of utility poles Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – Jefferson Township residents are asking Sparta Township to block a plan by Verizon and their contractors to add utility poles on Sparta Milton Road.  This past spring Timothy McDonald spoke at a township council meeting about plans to run fiber from a node on a tower on Glen Road, down Sparta Milton Road to Weldon Road and then to another utility tower on Pecose Road.

McDonald showed a map depicting the circuitous route that has been proposed.  He asked the township not to approve the Soil Disturbance permit needed to do the work.  According to McDonald and his neighbors, there are six poles in the plan; two in Jefferson that have already been approved by Jefferson and six in Sparta.

McDonald says at least two of the poles are sited in wet lands.  The others in Sparta are in a “green space,” that the residents would like to preserve. 

Sign Up for E-News

On Thursday, McDonald, a few neighbors and a representative of the Audubon Society met with Sparta Township Manager Bill Close, Township Engineer Eric Powell, Township Attorney Tom Ryan and Mark Bocchieri from Verizon and George Sous from PSE&G. 

Mc Donald asked if the contractors working on the project had applied for a wetlands permit.  McDonald said one of the poles is proposed to be placed on his property in ground that “has very few days in without water.”  Further, McDonald said the area has “1A wetlands that empties into the Rockaway.” 

Close asked Powell to follow up with the contractors regarding “issues of wetlands.”  Powell was asked to find out if there is a wetland designation for the area and if so, have required permits been obtained.

McDonald proposed there were other options for the placement of the fiber including running the line down an existing PSE&G right of way or running the fiber down Glen Road to Russia Road to Weldon Road or even burying the line in existing water line trenches.

Powell and Close discussed the constraints of running other utilities in trenches with water lines. 

Bocchieri addressed the neighbors about the need for the project.  He said, “Fifty three percent of New Jersey homes strictly rely on wireless(phones), 75 percent of all 9-1-1 calls are made from cellphones and most homeowners don’t know how many devices use wireless components including the new types of doorbells, alarm systems, water meters in addition to phones and tablets.”

McDonald said they “love technology and want it to work well,” but they are “not talking about wireless they are talking about fiber.”  He also said, “We want to see the project go forward, but we would like to do it another way (other than) interrupting our green space.” The area is adjacent to Mahlon Dickenson Reservation.

Bocchieri also committed to looking into whether or not wetland applications have been sought.  He  said he would see whether or not any other options had been investigated for this proposed pole project. 

“This could be only part of a larger project,” Bocchieri said.  He talked about how large towers and large cells and small cells on roof tops integrate with the small nodes on poles to fill in the gaps.  This forms a “cluster of coverage called a polygon, to address the issue (of gaps) in the area.”

Sous said he would check to see if any use permits had been requested from PSE&G to use their towers and right of way. 

The group took a field trip to see the site first hand.  They left committed to following up with their various tasks and report back to the township manager.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police Arrest Newton Man on DWI, Hit and Run with Baby on Board

March 16, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –  A Newton man driving drunk with is infant child in the back seat is facing charges after a hit and run accident on Route 15.  On March 10, around 7:05 p.m. Sparta Cpl. Smith went to Limecrest Road to investigate the accident, police report.

The officer was met by the driver of one of the vehicles involved.  That driver said he was on Route 15 South when a VW ...


March 11, 2018



Republican Freeholder Candidates, Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg commended the District 24 Legislators for taking action in the wake of the horrific school shooting that took the lives of 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   


Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space and ...

Alex Majewski Joins Race for Newton Town Council

NEWTON, NJ – Alex Majewski officially launched his campaign this week for Newton Town Council, pledging to make municipal government work by placing residents and taxpayers first.

“A new beginning for Newton starts now.  We need to strengthen the communication and interaction between residents, business owners, and public servants,” Majewski said. “Newton ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 17, 12:00 PM


Resume Boot Camp

Business & Finance


Tue, March 20, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Trout Unlimited Annual Fund Raising Banquet

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, April 14, 9:00 AM


Jr Lions Football - Meet & Greet

Education Sports

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sparta Students Silent Walk Out for School Security

March 14, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –As a show of unity and protest for the school shooting in Parkland Florida one month ago, a couple hundred Sparta High School students walked out of school, standing in silence for 17 minutes.  Each minute represented each of the students killed in the school shooting.

Sparta students joined with students across the country on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Nearly 60 students ...

5 Tips for elected officials

March 9, 2018

Dear Editor,

Wayne Levante, a self-described moderate, business-friendly mayor of Newton since his appointment 8 months ago, has been mired by one misstep and controversy after another.  From peddling debunked conspiracy theories about student “crisis actors” in the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting on social media, attacking residents and calling them ...

6 Easy Ways to Increase Zzzz’s During National Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond!

Team Nest Builder knows sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of problems, so we’re here to help you make your New Jersey home bedrooms the havens you deserve! Take a look at these simple ideas for increasing your zzzzz’s:

Soften Up

Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

Feeling Blue

According to a study by Travelodge, ...

4 Top Reasons NOW Is A Great Time To Buy A New Jersey Home

Team Nest Builder offers four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting:

Prices Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.  The bottom in home prices came and left. Home values will ...

Does YOUR School District Rank For 2018 Best Teachers? compiled a 2018 list of the top 100 New Jersey school districts who possess the best teachers, based on student and parent ratings of teachers, teacher tenure, teacher salaries, student-teacher ratio, teacher absenteeism, and the Niche Academics Grade for the district.  Team Nest Builder understands the importance of owning a home in an area with a strong school district, so ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Enrollment Extended for New Jersey Youth Corps at Project Self-Sufficiency

March 16, 2018

Enrollment for the current session of the New Jersey Youth Corps program at Project Self-Sufficiency is has been extended.  The sixteen-week program gives those who have not completed high school the opportunity to boost their literacy skills, prepare for the high school equivalency exam, obtain on-the-job work experience, and transition into a career, college or the military.  Project ...

Westfield Volunteer Baseball Coach Desperately Seeking Kidney Donor

March 3, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ —  Westfield High School volunteer baseball coach Mike Cappiello is in desperate need of a kidney donor.

The 28-year-old former WHS baseball player hit 46 doubles playing college ball for Plymouth State University in New Hampshire — the most in the school's history.

One day in April of 2012, during his senior year, he was off to another good start to ...