By MARTA ESQUÍROZ For The Leader/Times
CRANFORD — On Monday night, after two years of hearings, the Cranford Zoning Board voted to deny New York SMSA Limited Partnership’s application seeking to build a Verizon Cell Tower at Union County College.
The board decided to deny the application, saying that the applicant failed to provide evidence that there was a gap in service or inadequate existing capacity in the signal strength level. It also failed verify that the antennas and tower’s proposed location would improve mobile wireless communication.
Ronald Marotta, vice chair of the board, said the gap in this application is based on criteria in which “there’s not evidence of people having no access to phone services.”
“Over the past year, where most of the people have been working from home and often using mobile communications to connect to any of the services like video calls or conference calls, is very telling that there has been no demand. Nor one person has been giving a testimony that they haven’t been able to connect,” Mr. Marotta said.
He added that even the college security team couldn’t clarify, “when there was no coverage and how much it occurred in the campus.”
Dan Aschenbach, secretary of the board, remarked about the “arrogance of the experts” when answering some of the board’s questions. Mr. Aschenbach added that the experts sometimes did not answer the questions, even after asking them in different meetings.
“I am not an expert, but I cannot find a way in the record here that matches gap in service and the common sense of most people that they don’t have a problem with cell services,” Mr. Aschenbach said.
Additionally, Christine Daly, board chairwoman, brought up the public interest factor in the equation of aspects that the applicant did not meet. “The public interest is not that compelling because there is adequate service in the area.”