Cranford to Defend Denial Of Cell Tower Application

By MARTA ESQUÍROZ
For The Leader/Times

CRANFORD — During its workshop-official meeting on Tuesday night, the township committee authorized a contract to the firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland, Perretti, LLP, which will provide litigation services in connection with an application for a cell tower at Union County College.

Verizon filed an appeal last week in federal court after the township zoning board denied the application in March, according to Township Attorney Ryan J. Cooper.

“The job of a complaint is to put the best in and present the best story from their point of view, and it is going to be our job to tell the court what the real facts are,” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Cooper explained that the Riker Danzig firm, “is one of the largest firms in the state and it is an expert on FCC, cell tower technology and land-use decisions.” He added that the firm had participated successfully in a litigated number of high-profile land-use appeals, particularly in federal court.

“We are in good hands,” Mr. Cooper remarked, as he warned the public that “litigations are slow and expensive” and encouraged them “to keep watching the township meetings to get the updates.”

In other business, Township Administrator Jamie Cryan provided updates on recycling contracts to the local government.

Mr. Cryan explained that in 2019, the budget for recycling was $150,600, which increased up to $617,000 in 2020.

“There’s not space to put the recycling material. It is very difficult,” Mr. Cryan said. He continued by saying that the same company as last year, Giordano, has proposed to them “the honor” to “keep the same price for 2021-2022, even though they first asked for $629,000.

Mr. Ryan urged the governing body to pass the ordinance that authorizes the post of advertisement to the township’s website, local and statewide newspapers, to find “other bids” and “to be on schedule.”

Asked by Deputy Mayor Brian Andrews if Giordano will keep the offer, Mr. Ryan said that “there’s a chance they switch to the first proposal.” Despite the risk, the township decided to pass the ordinance.

Additionally, the township signed the bond ordinance to make various public improvements and acquire and replace machinery and equipment.

Commissioner Mary O’Connor highlighted that this ordinance will be used for road projects, including Burnside Avenue, with an estimated cost of $1,504,800, and Edgar Avenue, with a price of $512,080.

Furthermore, it will designate $100,000 to drainage and sewer improvements at different locations; $262,000 for the police department, including body cameras and related equipment and mobile data terminals; and $55,000 for ventilation improvements at the firehouse. It also includes $300,000 for the construction of a splash pad and slide at the Orange Avenue Pool property and $40,000 for a new Department of Public Works pickup truck.

Lastly, the committee announced it will host its annual fireworks on Friday, July 2, at Nomahegan Park at 9 p.m., to celebrate the Fourth of July, approving an agreement with Garden State Fireworks, which will not exceed $15,000.

The local government had changed its mind since May 11, when officials voted in favor of canceling the event, with only Mr. Andrews objecting at the time, mentioning that “by July, our vaccination rate will have significantly increased.”

According to the last data, 53 percent of the Cranford population is fully vaccinated, while 62.9 percent have had at least one dose. In addition, New Jersey leads the list of states with a higher population fully vaccinated, with 9.25 million doses given. Behind it are California, Texas and New York.

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