State nixes cell tower on green acres land


Staff Writer

FAIR HAVEN — Can you hear me now?

Not yet, in Fair Haven.

After months of debate over placement options for the proposed cellular phone tower, the borough’s application to place the tower at Fair Haven Fields has been denied by the state.

According to Councilman Thomas Gilmour, the application submitted to the state Green Acres program in November requested approval to use one of three alternate locations at Fair Haven Fields, Ridge Road, for the tower.

Because federal funds were used in the purchase of the property for the fields, federal regulations bar a cell tower from being built on the Green Acres lands, he explained. That is, unless the borough swaps a comparable piece of land to Green Acres, or purchases the land from Green Acres, according to Gilmour.

“The project isn’t dead,” said Gilmour, “but it’s a big disappointment.”

Another option for the town would be to choose between two other locations, which Gilmour calls “more intrusive.”

The two other locations are at the police department or the Public Works Department site.

“Green Acres is the least intrusive site for the residents of the town,” said Gilmour. “We don’t want to put a 150-foot-high tower in someone’s back yard. Green Acres was my first choice.”

One of the locations that the council was seriously considering was next to the driveway leading to Christ Church United Methodist off Ridge Road.

The Rev. Kathleen Stone, pastor of the church, was present at the Oct. 1 meeting and said that although she is in favor of a cell tower, she is opposed to the placement of the tower at that location.

“I think it’s the ugliest thing you could do to the United Methodist Church,” she said. “I don’t think you would want it in your front yard.”

This option would have meant the removal of some trees and other vegetation, according to Gilmour.

Another location would have been closer to Ridge Road, and Gilmour said that he thought that location was out in the open and would be “the ugliest thing we could do to Ridge Road.”

The third location would also have been in the fields, and may have required the removal of some vegetation.

If the council is able to either buy land from, or swap land with, Green Acres and get permission to build on one of three locations, the council will then go out to public bid for the tower. They will get cost estimates for two options: having a cell phone service provider build and maintain the tower, and having the borough build and maintain the tower.