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Neighborhood is not appropriate location for cell tower

This is an open letter to South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese and members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The subject is a proposed cell site construction in the “backyard” of the Regency Square neighborhood.

First, using commercially available base station signal monitors, I verified the signal strength of all major cellular networks as received in my house, which is located in the Regency Square. Verizon LTE network has an average power level of -75.2 dBm, and Verizon CDMA/EVDO networks had average power of -84 dBm. These signals, as well as signals from other providers, exceed by far the level necessary for a reliable cellular communication. Clearly, there is no need for stronger cellular signals in Dayton.

Second is the capacity, i.e., the ability of the network to simultaneously provide multiple connections. Second conclusion — there is no need to build a cell site at any particular location.

Now, the third argument — no harm to the residents. World Health Organization (WHO) classified all radio-frequency-emitting devices as potential carcinogens. That said, according to the Federal Communications Commission, ground-level power densities near typical cellular towers are on the order of 1µW/cm2 or less.” These are low levels. They are most likely correct when everything is normal, but what happens when something breaks — for instance, during a storm — and antennas tilt pointing straight down the neighborhood?

Then there is the perception. Many potential buyers will turn around seeing a cellular tower so close to a house for sale. Property values in the neighborhood most certainly will suffer even if no other harm is done to the residents. Is not this alone enough to search for a different solution?

I am not an expert on deployment of cellular networks, but simple analysis and common sense clearly indicate that if needed, a cell site could be located on a different existing electric tower, closer to Route 130, away from any residential neighborhood.

Boris Sheyer
Dayton section of South Brunswick

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