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Glendora Residents Voice Opposition to Cell Phone Tower at Fire House

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
Approximately 30 residents of the Glendora section of Gloucester Township came out to the Township's Zoning Board Meeting on April 23, 2014, to show their opposition to a proposed cellular phone tower to be constructed on the Glendora Fire Department's property.

Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, is seeking a number of variances to allow a 100' monopole to be raised on the fire house's land. Twelve communication antennae will extend the total height of the structure to 103' and include an unmanned equipment shelter, and a natural gas powered emergency electric generator, at the base of the monopole.

While all residents within 200' of the proposed structure received the legally required mailed notification, many residents outside of that prescribed zone did not see the published notification and learned of the tower just days before the meeting.

Representatives of Cellco testified that the tower was needed to plug an existing gap in Verizon's cellular coverage area. Submitted exhibits and professional testimony attempted to show that the Glendora Fire House was chosen because of the property's attributes and its location closest to the center of the coverage gap. Celllco representatives also gave testimony that the tower would not only provide enhanced coverage for subscribers traveling through the area, but would give local residents improved reception and transmission on their Verizon cell phones. 

It was noted that this was important since many people are giving up traditional land line telephones and relying completely on cell phones as the only phone in their homes. The plugging of the coverage gap was needed to ensure that, if necessary, these residents could make calls to 911 in case of an emergency.

During the public comment section of the meeting, 12 Glendora residents spoke under oath before the board to express their opposition to the tower.

The residents were concerned about the value of their properties decreasing due to the tower looming outside their windows and some expressed concern about the safety of their families and neighbors if the tower were to fall during a storm.

The Cellco representatives testified to the Board Members that the houses of surrounding residents were well out of danger in the unlikely event that the tower did come down.

Some residents asked why the property of the Chews Landing Fire Department could not be used instead. After a brief huddle amongst the Cellco representatives, the engineer for Cellco testified that the Chews Landing Fire Company would not provided optimum coverage and would require adding approximately 40' to the already proposed 100' monopole.

All residents who gave testimony were asked by the Board if they had a cell phone and how their reception was in their homes. All residents testified that they had no problems with their cell phones while in their homes, including those who were Verizon subscribers.

While the attending residents had brought a petition in opposition to the tower signed by other Glendora residents, the Chairman of the Planning Board informed them that it could not be submitted because the residents who signed it could not be cross examined by the Board.

No representatives from the Glendora Fire Department testified before the Zoning Board.

At the end of all testimony the Zoning Board voted to table the requested variances to allow Cellco Partnership to return before the Board in May to present additional evidence regarding the Chews Landing Fire House site and other concerns brought up during the meeting.

The Chairman of the Zoning Board informed the Glendora residents in attendance that this was the only notification that would be given to residents about the May meeting and that they should plan accordingly if they intended to be present and testify.
Big Daddy 1 April 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Thanks again Bob. It's a combination of inadeqate notice and giving up. Norcross companies get virtually all of the municipal insurance work in Camden and Gloucester counties (as well as certain other areas) beceause he chooses all the office holders. And that adds to our taxes and other forms of corruption.
Pete Heinbaugh April 25, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Bob, I think you are right on the mark regarding Gloucester Township government when in comes to resident notifications. But, on this subject, the law will always be a few steps behind what is needed. So its up to the government entity to choose to be open and transparent, or choose not to be. Here in GT, our government has obviously chosen not to be. As a taxpaying resident, one must ask 'why?'.
Anthony (Tony ) Morrow April 26, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Living ig glendora this is the first I am hearing of this. I guess because I live over by the school. My first question would be does the township own the land ? I'm assuming yes but who knowsit Gt were proply leasing it from someone. And the To follow that question would be how much is cellco going to pay to lease tbe land for the tower and what is that money going to be used for?,. I know someone in fla. Who has one on a farm and the company pays 3000$ a month.
Anthony (Tony ) Morrow April 26, 2014 at 10:55 AM
and also isn't there already a cellphone tower on the opposite side of the Black Horse Pike behind Sport outlet.
Bob Kola April 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Tony: The land is owned by The Glendora Fire Department, which is a separate entity from the Township municipal government. No terms of the lease arrangement were disclosed at the meeting.

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