Oceanport drafting cell tower ordinance


OCEANPORT- The borough is working on a cell tower ordinance that would limit the location of towers to boroughowned property.

During the workshop portion of the Feb. 7 council meeting, Borough Attorney John O. Bennett III went over the specifics of the proposed ordinance with Mayor Michael Mahon and members of the Borough Council.

The borough currently does not have an ordinance regulating cell towers, according to Borough Clerk Kim Jungfer.

“It is my understanding that you essentially want to allow the cell towers to be permitted in the borough,” said Bennett. “But for anyone who wants to locate one in the borough, it can only be done on municipally owned property.”

According to Bennett, “communication tower” will be defined in the ordinance as any structure that is designed primarily for the purpose of supporting one or more antennae for telephone, radio or similar communication purposes.

The proposed ordinance would be for conditional use and subject to conditions listed in the ordinance, and Bennett noted that conditional use wording would make any proposed cell towers subject to planning board approval.

“The reason that you’re having an ordinance that does permit [communication towers] somewhere in town is that without them being permitted anywhere in town, someone who wishes to build one or secure a lease on someone else’s land can go to the Zoning Board and the Zoning Board is hard pressed to deny it since you have no other places in town where they are permitted,” Bennett said.

He added that when towers are restricted to municipal property and an applicant attempts to locate one on private land, the Zoning Board would have a legitimate right to deny the application.

Mahon was concerned that municipal land might be too broad of an area, while another council member wondered if this would affect the borough’s parks and open space.

Bennett advised the council that cell towers could not be placed on recreation, open space or Green Acres property.