By Mark Rosman
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Representatives of Verizon Wireless will come before the Planning Board on Feb. 18 to present a plan for a cellular communications tower at 363 Monmouth Road (Route 537), Freehold Township.
In December, the Zoning Board of Adjustment denied an application submitted by New York SMSA Limited Partnership (Verizon Wireless) that sought a use variance in order to construct a cell tower on a 1.9-acre parcel in a residential zone at 391 Monmouth Road near Francis Mills Road and Blueberry Hill in Freehold Township.
The Township Committee has since voted to merge the zoning board into the Planning Board and the board is expected to hear Verizon representatives explain why a cell tower is needed in this area of the municipality.
During the zoning board hearings in 2015 concerning the proposed tower at 391 Monmouth Road, Verizon’s representatives testified that the 120-foot-tall monopole (a single tube tower) would have filled a gap in coverage on Route 537 and Francis Mills Road in Freehold Township, and on Paint Island Spring and Stillhouse roads and several other streets in neighboring Millstone Township.
The application for a cell tower at 363 Monmouth Road is also expected to require a use variance.
At the board’s Jan. 7 reorganization meeting, Rich Gatto was elected chairman of the board and Rob Kash was elected vice chairman.
In addition to Gatto and Kash, the members of the Planning Board are Township Committeeman Anthony Ammiano, Township Committeeman Thomas Cook, John Bazzurro, Robert Shortmeyer, Leon Bruno Jr., Ron Kirk and Patrick Coburn.
Former zoning board members Apryl Kurtz and Kevin Asadi are now alternate members of the Planning Board.
The board appointed Frank Accisano as its attorney; Thomas Planning and Paul Phillips of Phillips Preiss Grygiel, LLC, as its planning consultants; and Township Engineer Tim White as its engineer.
The board meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, Stillwells Corner Road. Meeting dates for 2016 are Jan. 21, Feb. 4, 18, March 3, 17, April 7, 21, May 5, 19, June 2, 16, July 7, 21, Aug. 4, 18, Sept. 1, 15, Oct. 6, 20, Nov. 3 and Dec. 1, 15.