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Decision on Future of Sea Bright Cell Tower Looming

SEA BRIGHT: Plans to build a cell tower on borough property could be coming to fruition after years of discussion.

During its April 1 meeting, the Sea Bright Council gave Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni the OK to go out to bid to find cell phone carriers for the tower.

The original idea of placing a tower in the municipal parking lot was met with negativity by residents and several members of the council, a new location is now being considered.

“The new consideration is to actually have one placed behind the existing borough hall, in between (the building) and the sea wall,” Councilman Brian Kelly said. “It would be a single tower and it would be an elevated structure so there would still be some parking available underneath it.”

The council seemed to agree that the new location is a better compromise, considering the fact that the alternative could be the placement of a cell tower on private property.

“If we don’t let them come here, they’ll go to somebody else and it will be a private property owner that will allow it and we’ll have a tower in the middle of residential neighborhood, which nobody wants and the borough is powerless to stop that,” Councilman Marc Leckenstein said. “There’s no good site for it in Sea Bright. Just the way we are geographically, it’s going to look ridiculous for everyone, but I think that’s probably the best site of all and we control it.”

Kelly said police and firefighters have requested better service in town, especially for the summer season when demand is the highest.

“Also residents in town have had issues with their cell phone service over the years,” Kelly said.

He said the borough would also generate revenue by having the tower on borough-owned land and the amount would be determined based on the number of carriers that utilize it.

Verizon had notified the borough that it was willing to break off negotiations to place the property on borough-owned lands, but discussions have picked up again in the last few weeks.

“We’re very appreciative that Verizon is still willing to negotiate with us after all this time,” Mayor Dina Long said.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, who is serving as a cell tower consultant, said Verizon will investigate the area to see if it is possible for a cell tower to be placed behind borough hall.

“We would do a bid so every carrier would have an opportunity, and we’re going to design the site accommodate all of them,” O’Scanlon said.

O’Scanlon said the height of cell towers varies but that the average height is 130 feet and that the proposed tower would need to be around that so all the carriers could potentially place equipment on it.

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