Bridgewater Drafts Cell Tower Ordinance
Law expected to be presented to township council in May.
With the hearing on the T-Mobile cell tower still going on since it was introduced in August 2010, Councilman Filipe Pedroso questioned whether the township should examine an ordinance on cell towers.
“The T-Mobile case has been dragging on,” he said. “We don’t really have an ordinance in town that prohibits cell towers.”
“But this is the first case that presents a cell tower in a purely central residential area,” he added.
If approved, T-Mobile will build a 130-foot cell tower at the Green Knoll Volunteer Fire Co. That is currently a residential area, so the tower is not permitted on that property.
The hearing is nearing its end, as the zoning board has heard from all witnesses, and discussed the possibility of lowering property values from the tower. The zoning board is now preparing to hear comments from residents about the application, and that is expected at the May 22 meeting.
A cell tower ordinance was originally discussed in May 2011, but was pushed off for introduction until discussions began on changes to the township’s master plan. That was expected to give residents more time to comment.
At the time, the ordinance was to cover all types of facilities, not just cellular infrastructure. It was to provide height requirements, set-back requirements and more, as well as addressing priorities for locations for the facilities themselves.
Township attorney William Savo said the administration has been continuing to work on that cell tower ordinance with a consultant.
“We recommended the planner take a look at it,” he said, “but it got held up pending the change in the administration.”
Savo said the ordinance should be before the council around the first meeting in May.