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Sea Bright Cell Tower Design Changed

credit: www.cell-phone-towers.com

SEA BRIGHT: Borough officials have changed the design specs for the cell tower that will be built behind the municipal building.

The original bid specs said the design would be a 105-foot traditional design cell tower with the possibility of adding a 20 foot extension. However, the bid is calling for a "flagless flagpole type tower to accommodate two additional telecommunications providers."

"Other successful bidders may be allowed to construct an additional flagless flagpole type tower capable of accommodating three telecommunications providers," the bid states.

Therefore, two cell towers could now exist on the site, but they will likely be half the height of original proposal of 105 feet.

"The number of towers, design and height of towers to be determined based on the needs of the winning bidder and potential co-locators," the bid states.

The Sea Bright Planning Board will approve the site plan before the tower is constructed and the successful bidder will also have to obtain a building permit from the borough's construction official.

At the Aug. 5 Sea Bright Council meeting, several residents asked the council to consider making the tower more aesthetically-pleasing than a traditional metal towers.

Council President Brian Kelly said that although it would look better, it would bring added costs to the borough.

“We could obviously get aesthetically-pleasing ones, we’ve discussed it in the past dozens of times, but keep in mind that does bring significantly higher costs,” Kelly said. “Right now it’s basically revenue-generating and to bring better service. We’ll look at these options for sure, but keep in mind we’ll either be forced to bear some of the costs of construction or we’ll lose a significant amount of money from our annual revenue from the tower.”

It is unclear if the new cell tower design will require the borough to pay more for it than a traditional cell tower.

Borough officials have accepted the fact that building a 150-foot cell tower behind the municipal building has become a necessity and that having control over it is the lesser of two evils.

“It isn’t that Sea Bright is necessarily trying to go out and bring a cell tower into sea bright, it’s really that cell phone providers have identified us an area of need," Kelly said. 

Kelly said the alternative having a cell service provider go to a landowner and building it on private property and then the borough “loses control of the situation.”

“If they go to a private property owner and the area is declared in need of a cell tower, we can fight it as a borough, but I haven’t heard of a case where the borough has won,” Kelly said. “And then it’s literally going to be in someone’s backyard.”

Kelly said having the tower on borough-controlled property would allow the borough to collect rent from the provider that leases the land. The bid that went out for the project last week states that the lease term will be for five years with four 5-year renewal options for a maximum lease of 25 years.

The annual rent for the tower will be no less than $34,000 per year with a yearly rent increase of 3 percent.

Kelly said the tower will also provide better cell coverage in the borough.

“We’ve had police officers, we’ve had fire department members come in and say that at the height of the summer season that they need better service, I’m sure anyone here that has a cellphone has run into that,” Kelly said.

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