Millstone cell tower testimony expected to continue


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By Matthew Sockol
Staff Writer

MILLSTONE – Testimony in support of Gaelic Communications’ application to construct a cellular communications tower at 237 Woodville Road is expected to continue before the Zoning Board of Adjustment at a future meeting.

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A Google map indicates Woodville Road is also known as Smithburg Road and as Monmouth County Route 527A and that 237 Woodville Road is in the vicinity of Roberts Road.

On May 25, representatives of telephone and broadband provider Gaelic Communications presented plans for a 125-foot-tall monopole tower they want to construct. The tower would be extendable to 145 or 153 feet. The company is seeking a use variance.

Attorney Joseph O’Neill presented the application on behalf of Gaelic Communications.

According to information provided at the meeting, the company was awarded a land lease for a telecommunications tower in 2015 by the Township Committee following a municipal bid process.

Because the planned construction of the tower will occur on municipal property, the board’s attorney, Gregory Vella, said he did not believe the firm’s appearance before the board was necessary, but was required by the township for purposes of transparency.

“The township has taken the position that all applications on their property come before whatever variance relief is associated as if they are a resident taxpayer,” Vella said. “They want to make sure that anything that is done on township property is not done secretly.”

According to Dominic Villecco, president and founder of telecommunications engineering company V-COMM, the purpose of the Woodville Road tower is to correct cellular coverage inconsistencies in the area.

Neighboring sites to the proposed tower are at Sweetsman Lane in Manalapan; Route 527 and Siloam Road in Freehold Township; and Back Bone Hill Road and Route 33 in Millstone. The proposed tower is roughly in the center of the five existing sites.

A computer-generated map provided by Villecco showed that cellular coverage at the five existing sites did not fully extend to the location of the proposed tower.

“We do not have very good continuous coverage throughout this area,” Villecco said. “The purpose for this site is to fill this gap.”

The company received waivers from the board and will not have to provide a field survey to confirm the accuracy of the topography provided by geographic information system mapping; a location elevation description of a minimum of two benchmarks (elevation references) used; a solid waste management and recycling plan; a storm water management report; or a traffic impact analysis.

Requests to have waivers for a tree preservation plan and a lighting plan were withdrawn by the applicant.

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