With considerations of comments from both the planning and zoning boards, but no real changes, the council unanimously approved an ordinance concerning regulating wireless cell towers.
“I think we should get this on the books, and if we have to amend it later we will,” township attorney William Savo said.
The ordinance, among other regulations, discusses the fact that recreation and open space areas are excluded from being able to have cell towers, and the council said they would like information on whether that includes county open space properties and municipal ones.
The structures, according to the ordinance, are required to be at least 1,000 feet from any residential zone, and the applicant must submit a list of other eligible locations when putting in an application.
Resident David Robinson asked if there is any consideration in the ordinance to what would happen if a telecommunications company abandoned a specific tower.
“Have you not sought to seek some sort of a bond to pay for the removal of the tower at such time as not necessary?” he asked.
Savo said the ordinance does deal with that.
A property owner has to notify the township of the abandonment of the property, and the township can charge the property owners a lien through the ordinance if there is any kind of problem or the structure is not removed within a specified amount of time.
“If it is not removed, we would have the ability to put a lien,” Savo said.
Robinson asked whether the township would be able to charge, for example, the Green Knoll Fire Company with regard to the T-Mobile tower that was proposed there.
The township is currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by T-Mobile after the zoning board denied the application for 125-foot tower at the fire company.
“I am asking you to address this is another way that wouldn’t leave the firemen holding the bag,” Robinson said.
Savo said the council will address those concerns if and when they come up.
The council approved the ordinance, citing that it conforms to overall goals and is not inconsistent with the township’s master plan.