FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – T-Mobile’s construction of a cellular communications tower at 169 Robertsville Road has been halted by a stop work order issued by Freehold Township officials.
Township Administrator Peter Valesi said that as of Dec. 27, the stop work order was issued because T-Mobile does not have a valid construction permit. He said a construction permit the company did possess has expired.
Construction on the cell tower did not officially begin prior to the issuance of the stop work order, according to Valesi, and the only action taken by T-Mobile was the apparent mobilization of equipment and materials to drill foundations.
Mayor Lester Preston said, “The property at 169 Robertsville Road has been a target for enforcement of unregulated activity for years. As such, area residents take part in the effort to keep an eye out for illegal activity and alert the township.
“During (the week of Dec. 17), we received word and confirmed the complaint that drilling rigs had been moved onto the property in preparation of foundation construction for a cell tower.
“We quickly responded by informing all contractors and the property owner that they did not have a valid construction permit and that work should stop immediately,” Preston said.
If representatives of T-Mobile file an application for a construction permit, Freehold Township’s zoning officer will review the company’s prior approvals for the cell tower, Valesi said.
The property at 169 Robertsville Road in a semi-rural area of Freehold Township was targeted for a cell tower by T-Mobile more than five years ago. The Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the company’s application.
T-Mobile went to Superior Court and received permission to build the cell tower. Municipal officials appealed the decision, but the Appellate Division upheld the Superior Court and approved a site plan for the cell tower.
For years, residents of the neighborhood have voiced their opposition to any plan that calls for the construction of a cell tower at 169 Robertsville Road.
“Since [issuing the stop work order], the contractor has removed their equipment and we will continue to monitor the property for additional activity,” Preston said. “It should be noted that the property has a pending case in municipal court for multiple code violations with regard to the littered conditions and use of the property for business purposes without the proper zoning approvals.”