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Virtual Meeting Scheduled for Proposed Johnson Farm Cell Tower

Verizon and SectorSite propose to construct a 150-foot mono-pine cell tower to be located on the historic Johnson Farm at 26 Dead Tree Road in Montgomery Township. The companies are seeking zoning variances, and will appear before the Zoning Board in a ZOOM meeting on Tuesday, June 16 at 7:30 pm.



Specifically, SectorSite is requesting "submission waivers associated with a use variance, a height variance, and preliminary and major site plan application," according to the agenda.


Members of the public interested in asking questions or providing comments during the meeting may do so using the following directions:


Dial-in time: June 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Phone number: 646.558.8656

Meeting code: 89863221658


The meeting may be viewed live or on-demand on Comcast Cable 29 and on the township website.


Background


Verizon Wireless/SectorSite submitted an application to the Montgomery Township

Zoning Board seeking a height variance and other code relief to build a 140-foot stealth

tree monopole on Bridgepoint Run Farm.


Verizon, based in Basking Ridge, would pay rent to the Johnson family for the use of

their land at 26 Dead Tree Run Road, though the exact amount is unknown.


A similar cell tower located on municipal land, near the Montgomery baseball fields, fetches about $57,000 annually in rent, according to Township Administrator Donato Nieman.


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The 74-acre farm is owned by longtime Montgomery residents John and Charlotte Johnson. The tower would have nine antennas and equipment cabinets on the ground, which would

be within a 30-foot by 60-foot fenced compound. In addition, VZW’s zoning application calls for a 30-kilo-watt propane generator, which would exist within the fenced compound.


VZW is seeking several variances, including waivers to:


— Permit a monopole height of greater than 125 feet.

— Allow an NJ-licensed engineer to submit the landscape plan, rather than the required

landscape architect.

— Allow equipment and a generator to be located outside of the equipment building.


The applicant notes that equipment and back-up generator would be “adequately" setback from property lines to meet all NJDEP noise standards, and would be buffered from neighboring properties by existing buildings on the site, and by proposed landscaping.


The applicant justifies the zoning code waivers for the project, which would be located

in a residential, zone for the multiple reasons.


“The existing use of the property is a farm with multiple structures,” according to the application. “As such, this proposed stealth tree wireless facility will blend in with the rural environment on the property and the surrounding area.”


As for the height variance, VZW notes in the application that they will provide testimony

at a public hearing.


Historic Considerations


Prior to receiving approval to construct and operate a wireless facility, the applicant must en-

sure “the proposed project will not adversely affect (directly or indirectly — visually) historic

resources.


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VZW is “in the process of coordinating with the FCC and the NJ State Historic Preservation Office for purpose of determining the project’s potential affects to historic” resources,”

according to the application.


Public comments regarding potential effects from the site on historic properties needed to

be submitted by December 15.


The public notice ran in The Star Ledger on November 15, but no notice was given to the local Montgomery newspaper.


Community members may still try to comment to Joseph Schuchman at E2PM, 87

Hibernia Avenue, Rockaway, NJ 07866, or by email to: Joseph.schuchman@e2pm.com, or

phone: 973.625.5600, ext 408.


Contact Montgomery zoning officials at 908.359.8211 to learn more. ■

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