Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Model Proposal to Control Cell Towers

At this weeks conference meeting, Bloomfield's town council agreed to update a township ordinance on wireless communication.

The motion, put forth by Bloomfield Residents for Responsible Wireless Communications, Maria Probst and Sandra Cummins, calls for a wireless communication system that reflects up-to-date technology as well as a design that is aesthetically pleasing and has a carefully considered “fall zone” to protect citizens. There was no such zone in T-Mobile's plans to erect a new cell phone tower last year near the corner of Bay and Broad Street.

Probst and Cummins concluded that there must be a 120-foot fall zone around any wireless communication structure. They have written an extensive report on the issue, noting that Bloomfield's current Wireless Communication Ordinance was adopted over 10 years ago and is no longer viable.

The Mayor and council voted 6 to 0 on first reading for Nick Joanow's proposed ordinance to be reviewed by the Planning Board.

A small group of concerned and dedicated Bloomfield residents came together to write the proposed ordinance. Extensive research was done on other municipalities’ wireless telecommunication facilities ordinances across NJ the US to determine the best practices for a policy that would hold up under legal scrutiny. Their overriding challenge "was to make sure that in writing it we did not violate the 1996 Telecommunications Act by making it impossible for cell towers and other telecommunications facilities to be built."

Clerk Louise Palagano stated that "The Council will pass a resolution on Monday, March 5th sending it to the Planning Board as well as introduce the ordinance. At some point, the Planning Board will send it back to the Council “as is” or with recommendations.

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