T-Mobile’s proposed cellphone tower plan, toppled last year by the zoning board, has risen back up and will be on the agenda this week, after the telecom company won a suit against the township last month.
The decision by Judge Anne McDonnell overruled the denial and granted T-Mobile the variances and waivers it needs for the 156-foot monopole tower off Jessup Road, and leaves it now to the zoning board to consider site plan approval this week.
But if and fresh saber rattling by the residents who would be affected are any indication, the fight over the tower is far from over.
David Sileo and Jeff Hansen, who spearheaded the effort to flood last July’s zoning board meeting with concerned residents, both appealed to the township committee Thursday night in their effort to oppose the tower, which would be planted in the middle of the open field between Pennfield and Sherwood Estates, which is currently part of the Marple farm.
Sileo slammed T-Mobile’s arguments both back in 2010 and again last year, calling them “laughable.”
“The testimony by T-Mobile was ridiculous,” he said. “The zoning board made the proper decision.”
He called for the township committee to back the residents on the tower issue, asking for them to make an appearance Tuesday night.
“We need bipartisan support,” Sileo said.
Given the number of homes nearby—Hansen noted it affects close to 100 homes, potentially—the two men said everything should to be done to try to stop T-Mobile.
“Not only is it going to affect everybody back there, this is going to set a precedent for this town,” Hansen said. “There are a lot of people who are very concerned about this.”
West Deptford Mayor Ray Chintall said while the site plan review will go ahead, the township is considering what steps it can take next.
“Currently, the township is reviewing and assessing our options with our solicitor on the merits of the case,” he said.
T-Mobile’s plan, as presented last year, called for a fenced-in 150-foot tower—really, just a giant pole—with antennas that extend six feet above the tip to be placed in what’s now a farm field, which sits directly behind homes in Pennfield and just beyond the treeline from Sherwood Estates.
The new site plan will be heard Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the municipal building. A full agenda for the zoning board meeting is not yet available.