Mayor Joseph L. Murray Jr. announced at the December 11 council meeting that the ordinance concerning a new Verizon cell phone tower to be placed in Memorial Woods would come to an end right along with 2012.
“The planning board has not completed its review which statutorily expires today. Therefore, we can’t have a hearing on it tonight,” Murray said. “The ordinance will die.”
Murray said there was a possibility that the ordinance would be reintroduced in 2013.
Comments during the public portion were overwhelmingly positive in response to the news.
Resident Cathy Sears thanked 107 residents who, just this past week, signed a petition that expressed concern over the proposed tower and asked for more focus from the mayor and council on open space preservation. Other residents at the meeting echoed Sears’ sentiment that a focus on environmental protection would be beneficial.
Resident Lorraine Bogert thanked the proponents of the ordinance but also expressed relief at the outcome.
“I realize they were working in good faith and I realize the reasons they tried to place it where they did,” said Bogert, adding, “but most people in town don’t want the cell tower near them.”
As previously reported, the council approved a resolution in February 2011 to explore bringing an additional cell tower to the borough. An ordinance was introduced in October 2011 but later abandoned over residents concerns.
The borough currently has a 90-foot cell tower located at the DPW yard, but for the past few years Verizon has proposed several sites to the Council for a 150-foot tower along the Kinderkamack Road corridor.
The cell phone company had also suggested placing the tower at Memorial Field or splitting the town with a pair of towers at the Oradell Swim Club and Senior Citizen's/Veteran's Building. All three options were later eliminated due to protected wetlands near the sites.