Jersey Town Highlights Common Clash Between Regulation & Industry


Cell towers provide a host of technological necessities for residents including basic communication and lifelines to emergency services, but some areas are still hesitant to embrace them in their town limits. It can come for a variety of reasons, ranging from fears over the effects of living close to a cell tower to even just concerns over the appearance and look of the town. One such town is the New Jersey township of Mahwah, where this exact debate is currently raging – and it may keep a cell tower from being constructed and saving lives.

The citizens of Mahwah have been considering many bids to build an additional cell tower within the town limits, to help fix a wireless dead zone that currently expands roughly a mile in eastern Mahwah. The town currently has one tower in their area. Residents who unfortunately live in the dead zone have been campaigning the town to allow for the tower construction to commence, helping bring modern day wireless advancements to the community. But they’re being challenged in front of the township council over the issue – because some other residents think that constructing a cell tower could ruin the area’s character and damage property values.

Kathy Spinella, one of the people protesting against the tower’s construction, said that, “I appreciate the picturesque view I have of my backyard… I would never choose to live next to a cell tower.” Other residents, like Stanley Sun, are under the impression that placing the tower within the town limits might lower property value of homes in the area. They contend that the tower should be constructed in a different area – regardless of the good that it can bring.

But the concerns being voiced in favor of building the tower speaks to the amount of good that the new tower could provide. Howard Bader, president of the board at the Apple Ridge condo complex (which just so happens to be located in the dead zone) has said that he has to move outside if he wants any kind of signal. Mayor Bill Laforet has also noted the potential impact this measure could have on local law enforcement – noting that many officers who move through the dead zone end up losing contact with the station or suffer technical difficulties with their in-car laptops. Laforet has defended his position, arguing that, “We have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for our employees. That includes our police officers… In the event that something were to happen and they couldn’t communicate, that poses tremendous problems.”

The township of Mahway currently leases municipal land at three locations to communications companies. Towers at the three sites yield a cumulative $500,000 for the township annually, and an additional tower might bring even more revenue to the community. Bader has compared the situation to being stuck in the Flintstones while his neighbors get to be in the Jetsons, but regulations and irate citizens may prove to be a roadblock too steep to build the tower on. This isn’t the first town to make this kind of declaration – other towns across America such as Belmont, Massachusetts and Zanesville, Indiana have been rejecting cell towers within their town limits for a number of reasons as well. The township council of Mahwah has formally met with both a company that installs towers and an AT&T service provider. They are currently identifying the network need and analyzing potential other tower sites, and make a decision in the next few weeks.

Sources: Mahwah residents aim to block cell tower; Some Try to Block Tower, Others Raise ‘Jetsons vs Flintstones’ Comparison



About Brandon Zachary

Brandon Zachary is the editor and head writer for - helping you keep posted on the newest shifts and changes in the world of telecommunications and wireless technology.

Recommended for you