“Groundbreaking” Ordinance Addresses Future of Telecom Infrastructure

UPDATE  In May 2017, a “widely unpopular,” 95-foot cell tower was constructed in Little Silver as part of a 25-year lease with Verizon, reported The Two River Times. Now, the borough is taking steps to ensure more control over future telecommunications projects and transparency with the public.

Last year, Inside Towers reported how strongly residents felt in opposition to the project, even forming a group called Little Silver Against the Cell Tower — or ACT — with the slogan “Get the Cell Out!” Over the past year, ACT has urged Mayor Robert C. Neff Jr. and the borough council to remove the tower.  Instead, the borough has decided to adopt a new ordinance to set better procedures for telecom companies who wish to build infrastructure in the public rights-of-way. The ordinance cites the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, which preserves a local government’s authority to manage the public rights-of-way around town, as well as the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities.

According to Mayor Neff, “With this ordinance we’re making sure that if these companies want to install equipment they have to come before the council with an application; and they have to formally notify every resident within 500 feet of the site of what’s happening. Their license application will be public, and that makes for a safer, informed and educated community.”

“This is a big step in the right direction towards transparency in a rapidly advancing technological age,” added Councilmember Michael Holzapfel. “I think there was an issue with communication when the cell tower first went up, and we tried to address that component. It’s really just about keeping people informed in an era when this technology and these devices are changing so quickly.”

May 17, 2018

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