February 12, 2014 / Anger is brewing and opposition is growing to a proposal to build a controversial 96-foot cell tower near residential homes in Edison New Jersey in Middlesex County, in the central part of the state. The fight is about property values with affected homeowners arguing that home values always fall when a cell tower is built near them. The Edison Zoning Board has scheduled a hearing on the matter for February 25. Click here for details http://stopcelltower.org/
The cell tower would be located in the Festival Plaza Shopping Center in Edison, directly behind private homes on Knapp Avenue and near a gas station at the corner of Route 27 and Knapp Ave. Michael McCarthy of McCarthy Properties in Beverly Hills, California purchased Festival Plaza in 2008.
One Knapp Avenue homeowner said, “The decision to approve or deny the Verizon Wireless application rests with Edison Zoning Board. They are good people and we hope they will make the right decision and vote to deny the application. But we have also reached out to all politicians representing Edison including the Edison Town Council members, Mayor Thomas Lankey, State Senator Peter Barnes III, State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin as well as Congressman Frank Pallone. While none of these elected officials can tell the Zoning Board what to do, we hope they will, at least, voice support for homeowners. This is what political representatives exist for, to represent the citizens. This is how democracy is supposed to work. Nothing prevents our elected representatives from contacting the Verizon Wireless representatives and simply requesting that they seek a different location for the cell tower that is away from homes and not in the Festival Plaza Shopping Center.”
The Edison homeowner started the website StopCellTower.org to help inform local residents and homeowners about the Verizon Wireless plans. He said, “There are more suitable locations for a cell tower other than the location proposed by Verizon Wireless. The Festival Plaza Shopping Center is unusual because it is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. This is a completely inappropriate location for a cell tower. The former Camp Kilmer which is short distance away would be more appropriate as would other unpopulated areas such as near railroad tracks.”
He added, “People don’t want to buy homes next to cell towers. Cell towers are ugly, there can be the danger of collapse or fire during a storm like Hurricane Sandy and many people are concerned about the potential health risks. Credible experts on both sides have different opinions on the health risk issue and it will be years before it is definitively known whether cell tower radiation poses any risk, but in terms of property values that does not matter. It is the perceived risk that lessens demand for homes next to cell towers, and less demand always means lower prices. There is no question that cell towers next to homes causes property values to drop.”
The homeowner also said, “There is a 70-foot cell tower currently on Talmadge Road in Edison near the Pines Manor. A simply ride-by shows how large and how dreadfully ugly cell towers are. And, this proposed new cell tower would be a total of 96-feet above ground level including the antenna. We hope area politicians will think about how they would feel if a cell tower was proposed for next to their homes. We hope they support Edison homeowners on this issue.”
The owner of the Festival Plaza Shopping Center is Michael McCarthy who is a successful shopping center investor from Beverly Hills, California. Verizon Wireless is part of, or soon will be part of Verizon Communications, a company worth over $130 Billion. A Knapp Avenue property owner said, “it would be a slap in the face to local property owners if these two parties are allowed to increase their profits at the direct expense of local homeowners, who will definitely see their property values drop if this cell tower goes up.”
He further stated, “These homes are peoples nest eggs. The homes near the proposed tower often represent a major portion of the net worth of the homeowners in the area, in contrast to large commercial investors like Mr. McCarthy from Beverly Hills. I can’t overstate how unfair it would be to local property owners in the area to be financially hurt while a Beverly Hills investor with no ties to the community cashes in.”
And he said, “We local people don’t have lobbyists or teams of lawyers and engineers to work on our behalves. We only have our local representatives. So I’m hoping our elected representatives reach out to Verizon to ask them to withdraw the application, and if Verizon doesn’t withdraw, I certainly hope the Edison Zoning Board does the right thing and supports the interests of local property owners over the financial interests of out-of-state investors like Mr. McCarthy from Beverly Hills.”
The next hearing on the matter by the Edison Township Zoning Board is scheduled for February 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Edison Municipal Building located at 100 Municipal Boulevard in Edison. The public can attend and present any objections to this application.
For further Edison NJ News concerning this controversial cell tower application affecting Edison homeowners and residents please go to StopCellTower.org
Interviews can be arranged through the contact page on StopCellTower.org