Summit Residents are taking their angst over a proposed T-Mobile cell tower in Springfield to the Springfield Zoning Board.
The proposed 175-foot tower would be just over the Summit border on the property of the Knights of Columbus on Shunpike Road.
T-Mobile is applying for a variance to exceed Springfield's construction height maximum of 40 feet as well as is other zoning concessions.
East Summit residents believe the tower will decrease property values in the area and worry the metal may attract lightning to the tree-dense area, creating a fire hazard. Residents are also concerned about the consequences of radio frequency waves.
"This tower is clearly of no benefit to us and furthermore will place our physical and mental well being in danger," said John Li, a Princeton Street resident.
Groups like the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society have said radio frequency waves from cell phone towers present minimal public health risks. Li contends that new studies indicate a strong cause-and-effect relationship between RF waves and negative effects, and compared the slow discovery of cell phone towers to the cancer risks of cigarettes.
Summit's Common Council also recently passed a resolution opposing the tower.
“It would be nice if our friends in Springfield would do the neighborly thing and not place this unsightly tower on our boarder," Summit Mayor Jordan Glatt said. "There is a reason they have chosen an area as far away from their residents as possible to place this tower. That’s because their residents don’t want it. Let’s be clear: Summit’s residents don’t want it either."
T-Mobile also applied to the Millburn Zoning Board for variances to build a similar 140-foot cellular tower behind the Short Hills Terrace apartments at 806 Morris Turnpike. The proposed tower would have been about 80 feet from the property line, adjacent to the train tracks. It also would have been 80 feet from the apartment building, which is tucked back from the road. The tower would have looked like a tree, similar to other masked cell towers in the region, including one along the Garden State Parkway in Clark. However, after a large showing of local residents opposed to the project, T-Mobile withdrew its application.
T-Mobile has also recently applied for variances to build towers in and .
The Springfield Zoning Board will meet Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Springfield Town Hall, 100 Mountain Avenue.