I continue to follow the progress being made in addressing the inherent issues that have arisen in the proliferation of communication towers and antennae in our community. As the issue grows with the technology, it has impacted all of us, both visually and in some cases audibly. Radio transmissions are regulated by the FCC but some are "grandfathered-in" and result in interference in broadcasting their content and overpowering other radio stations transmissions. Nothing to do about that. However visually, the impact of eyesores and the lack of maintenance and their proliferation, is addressable.
Last year the issue hit home for me when the condo community I live in, Eagle Ridge, received notice that there were applications for additions to some of the existing towers adjacent to our property. We were given the opportunity to state our concerns as they came before the Zoning Board. The end result, after both individual statements by homeowners and those of our Public Advocate, Harvey Grossman, Esq. were put on record, was receptivity and the beginning of more formal attention to and proper regulation of these issues. The Zoning Board established new policies to address them then and began referring future applicants to the Panning Board.
I wrote a "Point of View" essay that was published in The Chronicle on August 2, 2012 commending the Zoning Board for its decision to adapt policies and request appropriate adaptations to regulations and requirements for new applications. Aesthetics were being addressed. In addition, the process of taking down unused antenna began. This was major for us all. The Zoning Board, in turn, also requested applicants to appear before the Planning Board which has experts in assorted arenas such as architecture, law, community service, and whose members take the aesthetics of our community very seriously. They have a vision for our town that will include attempting to eliminate eyesores and prevent more from being added.
Last week, at the Planning Board meeting I attended, I was further heartened by the serious considerations that are being taken.
It is a complex and important issue and in sharing my concerns, The Chronicle has stated it will continue to delve into the intricacies of the situation, and in next week's edition, hopes to share a more in-depth report.
Raising consciousness about visual affronts, noise pollution, possible potential health aspects and other things that grate on our nerves and are perhaps avoidable, are some of the little things that make up the bigger picture and quality of life for us all.
The little things do matter, and we can be heard and evoke positive change if we take the time to take interest. So thanks to the volunteers of both the Zoning and Planning Boards who take their work seriously and spend much time and effort to help make our lives better.
Mary Ellen Morrow is a West Orange resident, home owner and free-lance photographer.
If you have attended community events, you very well may have been photographed by her yourself! She serves as a Commissioner on the West Orange Energy Commission and the West Orange Public Relations Commission, as a way of helping educate people about environmental awareness and camaraderie, as well as chronicling the beauty of life in West Orange at every given opportunity.