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T-Mobile Files Suit Over Denial of Cell Tower

The lawsuit was filed a little more than a week ago.

T-Mobile has filed a lawsuit against the Bridgewater Township Zoning Board of Adjustment over the denial of an application to build a 130-foot cell tower at the Green Knoll Volunteer Fire Company on North Bridge Street.

According to the lawsuit, as filed with federal court, the board’s denial of T-Mobile’s application violates the federal Communications Act and is “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful under New Jersey law.”

T-Mobile is seeking an injunction from the court to require the zoning board to approve the application for the tower at the proposed location.

“The board failed to properly evaluate or weigh the positive and negative criteria related to T-Mobile’s application consistent with New Jersey law and explain how, on balance, grant of the variance would cause a substantial detriment to the public good,” the lawsuit said.

According to township administrator James Naples, the suit was filed last week, and the zoning board as a whole is the only entity named as defendant in the lawsuit.

“The grounds of the suit are they are saying the action [of the zoning board] rises out of an unlawful denial of the application,” he said. “[It says] it prohibits T-Mobile from providing personal wireless service.”

The zoning board denied the application in May after almost two years of hearings. The application was for a 130-foot cell tower at the firehouse with a 6-foot high fence surrounding it and three equipment cabinets within that fence.

During hearings for the tower, the applicant said the tower would cover a gap in coverage in the area of the firehouse, but that it would not cover all the gaps, and another tower might be necessary in the future.

Residents expressed concerns about the tower, saying it would change the character of the residential neighborhood surrounding the fire house, and that other options should be considered to handle the gap in coverage like the distributed antenna systems.

According to the resolution approved concerning the denial of the application, the board determined that the application failed to satisfy the negative criteria of building the tower, and decided that the public interest would not be served through the proposed tower. The board also found that the height of the tower would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

“The board finds that it cannot ignore the impact which the height of this tower will have, as the applicant suggests,” the resolution said. “The board concludes that the proposed tower will have a detrimental effect on the surrounding residences as well as on the street scape.”

The board also determined, from the testimony of witnesses, that the tower would have an adverse impact on property values, the resolution said.

Greg Meese, who handled the application for T-Mobile, is representing the company in the lawsuit against the zoning board.

The lawsuit, Naples said, was filed in federal court, which will handle the case.

“The case could generally take months,” he said.

Mike Umbris October 11, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Let's all thank Pushpavati Amin again for her 6 out of 6 votes for cell towers in Bridgewater. More wasted tax money. Looking forward to seeing the Fire Company's financial disclosures in discovery.
Fran Hozeny October 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I am so disgusted with lawsuits filed because someone did not get their way. Residents go through this with different entities, i.e. houses of worship, schools, shopping centers, cell towers, etc. Yes, I know, we have protection under the 1st Amendment. However, some things just don't belong in residential areas if it interfers with our quality of life. What about resident's rights? Whatever happened to majority rules. I have stated at several public hearings on issues -- why have zoning laws if they are not adhered to? T-Mobile applied to the Zoning Board -- it was denied! What is it about "NO" they don't understand. Our rights as residents are eroding and it seems like we have less and less to say about it.
Steven T. Cornella Sr October 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
@ Fran ,,,,,,,,,What you express is the TRUTH and unfortunately the ones with the MOST MONEY wins .............and it's me or you ..............so sad .........what greed has done to are way of life and values ..............Today peoples communities , families or life can be easily bought , negotiated ,compromise ,....contracts , rulings . zoning laws are disregarded and pushed to the side in many forms in many law suits or in court .............you just have to have the right people with the right amount of money ....and it will happen ......such a shame ......
Fran Hozeny October 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Steve -- sad to say, yes, "greed and money talks". When one can get away with "side-stepping the Constitution" -- we don't stand a chance anymore!
Golden Gal October 13, 2012 at 05:09 PM
No wonder Bridgewater Township struggles to do the right thing. The zoning board made the correct decision to protect the neighborhood,and look what happens! Where are our rights?
FUNNY THING IS October 22, 2012 at 09:44 PM
There are no rights because these politicians think they can do what ever they want and to whom ever they want no matter who they are hurting and the funny thing is that they think they can get away with what ever they do and whom ever they hurt. they don't care about people and their families they only care about how they can do what ever they want as long as they get away with it. i"m sure if they really stopped and looked at how they manipulate people into thinking and feeling the way they want them to for their personal ego trip and this is whats wrong with people today. I"m sure they don't like it when their personal lives are affected so why do they get to play with other peoples lives and families like they are god?????????? They are nothing but people who were bullied growing up...
FUNNY THING IS October 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Again here is the story of the boy who cried wolf well this time the boy didnt cry wolf he was actually going to tackle the wolf
Golden Gal October 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The wolf is Big Business,and tackling it is the only way to stop the destruction that is happening in Bridgewater. One person can not do it alone. We need to unite against this enemy,and make the local politicians feel the anger of Bridgewater voters. They are, after all, elected or appointed to protect the township!
FUNNY THING IS October 25, 2012 at 06:26 PM
They don't care about anything but getting what they want to make them look good and it doesn't matter who and what families they hurt, i can say i know this from first hand experience because i was bitten by the wolf but the best part about it is that my wolf bite is gonna bite back...

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