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Wireless Ordinance Regulates Building of Towers

The council introduced the ordinance Monday.

The council approved the introduction of an ordinance Monday to regulate wireless telecommunication facilities, with the hope of instituting it before the end of the year.

Township attorney William Savo said comments were submitted by both the planning board and zoning board concerning the ordinance, and he and a consultant made changes based on those comments.

The planning board has expressed the opinion in the past that for wireless towers to be conditional uses, the conditions to be satisfied need to be explicitly explained.

Township planner Scarlett Doyle has said that conditional use requirements must be explicit, and able to be answered with a yes or no.

The first piece of the new ordinance states that the request for collocation does not require site plan review, so long as the collocation does not increase the height of the structure by more than 10 percent of the original structure, and the square footage is not greater than 2,500 square feet.

For building wireless communication facilities, they will be conditional uses so long as the structure is at least 1,000 feet from a zoning district that is mostly residential, and the applicant has submitted a list of eligible locations for the facility and has ranked them.

As for this list, the priority ranking should include the possibilities of collocating on an existing support structure where the height won’t be increased, location on a new support structure about 1,000 feet from a primarily residential zone and other regulations.

The facilities will be prohibited in all zones except the ones that are explicitly mentioned in the ordinance—they are primarily non-residential.

The facilities will also be prohibited on property that is designated as historic, or listed on the New Jersey State Register or the National Register of Historic Places.

As for the dimensional standards of the facility, the ground-mounted equipment must be no more than 12 feet above the existing grade, and must be set back from the closest property line of at least 120 percent of the height of the support structure and attached antennae.

If a use variance is required for the facility, and the application is going before the board of adjustment, considerations must include site location priorities, the coverage of the gap and the capability of supporting more than one wireless carrier, among other regulations.

The ordinance will now go back to the planning board for final review before a possible approval by the township council at the Dec. 17 meeting.

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