Stalled T-Mobile Tower Project Almost a Teenager

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In May, Inside Towers reported on a court order that halted construction on a T-Mobile tower that’s been in the works since 2007. Since then, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruled T-Mobile could construct the tower, reported CentralJersey.com. Now, a petition for certification from the Freehold Township Planning Board is asking the state Supreme Court to review litigation regarding the tower.

Residents have opposed the project since the beginning and voiced their objections again during the November 26 meeting. Resident Maria Saputo said a tower, “will result in irreparable devaluation of our homes and the value of this township. Residents pay a premium in taxes for the scenic roadway, for Whittier Oaks Park, for Opatut Park, and for other parks and open space ordinances, referred to in township ordinances as a ‘bucolic landscape.’” 

Township Attorney Robert Munoz advised residents to address the matter with the Planning Board at its meeting on Thursday, December 5, since the petition for certification is already before the Supreme Court. “We will help the Planning Board focus this case on the Municipal Land Use Law,” he said. 

Below is a timeline of the tower project over twelve years, according to CentralJersey.com: 

  • 2007: Property at 169 Robertsville Road in a semi-rural area of Freehold Township was targeted for a cell tower by T-Mobile. 
  • 2009: The Zoning Board of Adjustment denied T-Mobile’s application. 
  • 2011: T-Mobile received permission from the Superior Court to build the cell tower, but no construction has ever taken place.  
  • 2017: After equipment and materials were mobilized, the township issued a stop-work order claiming T-Mobile’s construction permit expired. T-Mobile contested the Planning Boards’ decision and appealed the zoning officer’s decision. The company argued that the zoning officer did not have the authority to deny the application because of the prior approval that had been granted in Superior Court. T-Mobile then filed a motion in Superior Court to enforce the company’s rights. 
  • 2019: A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of T-Mobile, finding that the 2011 order granted the company approval to construct a cell tower, and the board, through the zoning officer, willfully failed to comply with that order.

December 4, 2019

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