MINUTES – SEPTEMBER 11, 2006
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the
Planning Commission: John Pazdera, Chairman
Dean Dickson, Vice Chairman
Tony Bush, Secretary
Richard Cylinder, Member
Karen Friedman, Member
Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Donaghy, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Bush seconded to approve the Minutes of June 26, 2006 as corrected. Motion carried with Mr. Dickson abstained.
#575-A – T-MOBILE NORTHEAST, LLC – CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION/
Mr. William Benner was present and stated this is a co-location Application for the
communication tower located at the
Cingular Wireless occupies the top position pursuant to a Conditional Use Decision
issued previously. Sprint occupies the second highest platform pursuant to a Conditional
Use Decision, and now T-Mobile is before the Township seeking authorization to mount
their antenna array and equipment at the base similar to the other wireless providers.
Mr. Benner stated the Application was filed with a series of site specific reports designed
to show compliance to
for the height of the antenna platform, the file materials submitted were indistinguishable
from those of their predecessors.
Mr. Benner stated there was some confusion raised with this Application in that the Plan
submitted showed an antenna platform with twelve antennas but the Lease T-Mobile has
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 2 of 10
with American Tower Corporation shows an antenna array configuration of nine antennas
and the structural report submitted is based upon nine antennas. He stated Plans that
were filed show the ultimate build-out of the site with a total of twelve antennas attached
to the antenna platform. For the purpose of the Conditional Use Application T-Mobile
would be happy to secure authorization or Conditional Use Approval to mount a total of
nine antennas consistent with the structural report and Agreement, but they would request
the opportunity to add three additional antenna sometime in the future but without having
to invoke the full Conditional Use process since they would only be adding additional
antennas to a previously-approved platform. He added they recognize that before they
could add the three additional antennas, they would have to apply for and receive
Building Permits which would involve a review by the Township officials of an updated
Mr. Donaghy asked if they are seeking approval for twelve antennas, but intend to only
install nine at this time; and Mr. Benner stated they could do it this way. He stated
T-Mobile would like to have authorization to have twelve antennas with the
understanding that no more than nine would be built at this time with the condition that
there would be an updated structural report when they add the three additional antennas
sometime in the future.
He stated if
granting Conditional Use Approval for nine antennas but allow T-Mobile to add three
additional antennas in the future this would be fine as well. He stated assuming
Conditional Use Approval is granted, T-Mobile would recognize that they will still need
to file an additional structural report when the additional antennas are added but would
prefer not being required to have another Conditional Use Approval for those three
Mr. Donaghy stated he feels in either case, they are requesting approval to install twelve
Mr. Cylinder asked who owns the tower, and Mr. Benner stated
the tower and leases space on the tower. Cingular and Sprint currently have leased space
on the tower, and T-Mobile is now requesting to mount their antenna at 100’. He stated
they will have an antenna platform to which the antennas will be attached. The Plans
submitted show a total of twelve antennas being attached. Mr. Cylinder asked if there is
a capacity in the area he is discussing and asked if they could add more than twelve
antennas. Mr. Benner stated the traditional antenna configuration is to mount the
antennas in a three-sector array with six, nine, or twelve antennas. Mr. Cylinder asked if
there is more space for anyone to go on the tower, and Mr. Benner stated there would not
be space to go higher. Mr. Cylinder asked if they could go lower, and Mr. Benner stated
if the tower were structurally-adequate, it may be possible to support someone going
lower. He stated there needs to be a separation between the antennas and typically this is
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 3 of 10
Mr. Cylinder stated he assumes T-Mobile has authorization from the owner of the tower;
and Mr. Benner stated this is correct, and the information showing this was included with
the Conditional Use materials submitted to the Township.
Mr. Pazdera asked Mr. Majewski how many antennas the tower was originally approved
for, but Mr. Majewski stated he did not recall. Mr. Donaghy stated according to the Plans
one additional array of antenna has already been added. Cingular was the original
Applicant and Sprint came later.
Mr. Donaghy explained to the Planning Commission members that the reason the
Applicant is present is not for the traditional request for Subdivision or Land
Development. He stated under the terms of the Ordinance, assuming the location under
discussion is located in the Overlay District zoned for telecommunications, which this
one is, the Applicant can install these facilities if they receive a Conditional Use from the
Board of Supervisors. Under the terms of the Conditional Use, they must establish that
specific conditions listed in the Ordinance have been met. He stated part of the review of
a Conditional Use is that the matter go to the Planning Commission for review and an
advisory opinion to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Donaghy stated under the provisions
of the Ordinance there are a number of conditions, many of which are not applicable in
this case as they refer to the installation of a new tower; and in this case this is an existing
tower. Mr. Donaghy stated in this case they are only requesting approval to place
additional antennas and for equipment to be installed at the base area.
Mr. Benner stated the equipment to be placed at the base of the tower would be placed on
a small concrete pad. It would all be contained in the previously-approved compound.
There will be no extension of the compound.
Mr. Benner stated all the Plans and materials submitted with the Application with the
exception of the structural certification show the ultimate build out at twelve antennas
including the report which addresses the radio frequency/electronic magnetic energy
associated with the installation which was done on the assumption of the full build out.
He stated that report shows that the proposed installation, operating with twelve antennas,
will be substantially less than the FCC limit.
Mr. Majewski asked if this is the last antenna array that could go on the pole, and
Mr. Benner stated he cannot answer this question. He stated they do have a structural
report that shows that the tower is at about 63% capacity. He stated any other Applicant
would have to show compliance with the Conditional Use standards. Mr. Benner stated
any additional antennas would have to be lower than the proposed T-Mobile antennas.
Ms. Frick asked if the Township could be provided a copy of the structural report.
Mr. Benner stated they did provide copy of the structural report for nine antennas.
He stated they do not have a structural report for twelve antennas. Ms. Frick asked that
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 4 of 10
the Township be provided with this when it is available, and Mr. Benner stated as soon as
it is available, it will be provided. Mr. Donaghy asked if they are obtaining a structural
report that will cover twelve antennas, and Mr. Benner stated they are. Mr. Donaghy
asked if this will be available before the Board of Supervisors meet to consider this
matter, and Mr. Benner stated it is unlikely that it will be available by that time.
Mr. Donaghy stated it appears that they are requesting that they be able to install nine at
this point with the right to go to twelve conditioned upon providing a structural analysis
satisfactory to the Township engineer, and Mr. Benner agreed.
Ms. Friedman stated it appears they are requesting one platform and one tower, and
Mr. Benner stated there is an existing mono-pole tower with two existing platforms.
He stated T-Mobile would mount their antennas under the two existing platforms. He
stated it is a 120’ tower with one existing platform at the top of the pole for Cingular’s
antennas, one at 110’ with Sprint’s antennas, and T-Mobile proposes to build one
platform at 100’ and it will likely be configured as a square rather than a triangle upon
which they will initially place eight to nine antennas. They recognize that if they receive
authorization for the full twelve, they will have to supply a new structural report for the
twelve antennas. He stated they will add an additional three to four antennas in the future
not to exceed twelve on the same platform.
Ms. Friedman stated she is concerned with the total amount of poles in this area.
Mr. Benner stated there is only one pole. Ms. Friedman asked about overlap and if this
causes interference with the frequencies as she is concerned with putting twelve on one
unit. Mr. Benner stated there will not be any interference. He stated what they are
proposing is a very typical installation and having more than one carrier with their
antennas on one monopole is very common. He stated under the FCC licensing, each
wireless carrier is assigned a specific frequency on which they broadcast their signal.
He stated it would be a violation of their License to transmit outside of their assigned
frequency. He stated T-Mobile and the other providers are careful not to violate this.
He stated these frequencies also do not interfere with TV, radio, etc.
Mr. Cylinder asked if it is a physical platform, and Mr. Benner stated it is a mounting.
Mr. Cylinder asked how many square feet will be involved with the platform and how
does it compare to the other platforms on the pole. Mr. Benner stated it is ten square feet
and is consistent with others on the pole.
Ms. Friedman asked if Sprint or Cingular have sought any more approvals for more antennas, and asked if they are looking to put twelve on as well. Ms. Frick stated what they have obtained approval for is what they have obtained Permits for. She is not sure how many more they may want to have in the future.
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 5 of 10
Mr. Donaghy asked how many antennas are on each of the other two existing platforms,
and Mr. Benner stated, despite representing them in their Applications, he does not recall
as it was some time ago. Mr. Pazdera stated according to the structural report, there are
twelve on Cingular and nine on Sprint.
Mr. Pazdera noted that according to the structural report it states the tower is 118 feet, not
122 feet. Mr. Benner stated he only has the structural report that indicates Cingular has
twelve antennas and Sprint nine antennas. He stated the antennas do extend slightly
above the top of the tower. Mr. Pazdera asked why there is a difference between the
tower description versus what is on the drawing. He stated while he recognizes that the
antenna extend above the tower, the drawing shows a 122 foot tower, and the American
Tower structural evaluation shows it is a 118 foot tower. Mr. Pazdera asked why there is
an inconsistency, and Mr. Benner stated he does not feel it is an inconsistency as the
Zoning drawings show the existing Cingular antenna at 123 feet and it could be that they
are measuring the center line to the center line of the antenna. Mr. Pazdera stated there is
also a note that points to the pole that says “122 feet high.” Mr. Benner stated the
Application under discussion proposes no changes to the pole. Mr. Pazdera stated while
this may be true, he feels there should be consistent information in the Application.
Mr. Cylinder asked if they require FAA approval, and Mr. Benner stated when the
monopole was first approved in 1998 there was documentation filed showing that this
tower does not require distinctive markings by the FAA. He added that since T-Mobile
does not propose to increase the height of the tower, that Section of the Ordinance would
Mr. Pazdera asked what has changed with the technology that now requires twenty-seven
coaxial cables when the other two have one per antenna. Mr. Hooman Parsia stated
the number of lines is based on the antenna models chosen and the technology being
used. He stated each of the three carriers use different technologies and different antenna
manufacturers. The T-Mobile lines are based on their technology and manufacturer. He
stated the twenty-seven lines was based on nine antennas.
Mr. Pazdera stated in the engineer’s review letter there was a question as to whether the
cables were going inside or outside the monopole, and the structural evaluation states
that they should install the coaxial cables inside the pole. He asked how many
will be inside. Mr. Parsia stated this would depend on how much space is available
inside the pole, and they have not determined this yet. Mr. Benner stated this would be
determined at the Building Permit stage.
Mr. Bush asked Mr. Donaghy about the License Fee being paid by the Applicant and
asked if this information is typically disclosed to the Township and does the Township
have any interest in knowing what that fee is. Mr. Donaghy stated he does not know if it
is typically disclosed, but he does not feel why the cost of the Licensing of that space
should matter to the Township as long as the Applicant has the approval.
September 20, 2006 Planning Commission – page 6 of 10
Mr. Cylinder asked if they see any changes in the technology that would require
additional antennas or a reduction in the number of antennas in the future.
Mr. Parsia stated typically for three sectors, they would ask for nine antennas and only
install eight. He stated this provides for the advanced technology that their company is
migrating toward. He stated once they migrate into this technology and move forward,
they will not add antennas and hopefully will be removing antennas.
Mr. Pazdera noted the 9/8/06 Schoor DePalma letter. Mr. Benner noted Item #1 has
already been addressed. He noted Item #2 and stated they have indicated that they will
clarify the number of cables inside and outside of the pole at the Building Permit stage.
He stated they will comply with Item #3. Item #4 was noted, and Mr. Benner stated they
will discuss the Performance Bond with the Township solicitor. Mr. Donaghy stated the
purpose of the Bond is to have funds available to remove the facility if it is no longer
needed. He stated the Bond would only apply to their particular Application and not to
the tower or the existing facilities.
Mr. Dickson expressed concern with the concrete pad. He stated it appears that the only
physical addition is the 10’ by 16’ concrete pad since the tower already exists and they
are only adding another antenna array. He stated they are asking if they can construct a
10’ by 16’ pad on which they will place six cabinets. He asked what would happen in the
future if the technology were to progress to the point where a number of the cabinets
were no longer needed. Mr. Parsia stated while they are leasing space large enough for
six cabinets, they will initially only have two cabinets although they will have a 10’ by
16’ pad. Mr. Parsia stated this would provide room for four additional cabinets.
Mr. Dickson stated it is possible that at some point in the future, they may not need the
cabinets. Mr. Benner stated there is nothing in the immediate future to suggest that
wireless communication is going to change significantly, although there have been
improvements made. He stated there are provisions for removal in the Site Agreement
that expands the currently-built compound where Sprint and Cingular have their cabinets
on a similar pad.
Mr. Cylinder asked if there are any hazards with regard to the tower that have been found
in the past that have not been addressed here. Mr. Benner stated this issue was addressed
in 1998 to the satisfaction of
installation of the tower. He stated there is nothing about the Application that in any way
affects the tower. He stated they are following the Lower Makefield Telecommunications
Ordinance which was drafted to encourage co-location in order to make use of existing
high structures. Mr. Cylinder stated they are adding weight to the tower and more wind
resistance. Mr. Benner stated this is why they are required to prove that the tower has
adequate capacity to accommodate the additional wind load, and the Township also has a
Building Code that requires that the installation of the antennas to the mounting platform
meets certain wind load requirements. He stated T-Mobile, like the other two carriers,
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 7 of 10
will satisfy those requirements. He stated
similar to other Municipalities in the area. He stated before a Building permit is issued,
the Applicant files Plans and structural reports; and the Building Department reviews the
information, and not until they are satisfied that the standards of the Building Code have
been met, will a Permit be issued. Mr. Benner stated the structural report shows that the
tower with nine antennas will consume 63% of the tower’s capacity. He is not sure what
three additional antennas will add, but he does not feel it would impact it negatively.
Mr. Cylinder asked if the tower is inspected on a regular basis; and Mr. Benner stated
site every three to four months as do the other co-locaters. He stated the monopole
towers have survived numerous natural occurrences such as hurricanes, etc.
Mr. Cylinder asked about lightening strikes, Mr. Benner stated they provide a level of
safety because the towers are grounded; and since they are the highest structures, they
actually serve as the neighborhood lightening rod.
Mr. Pazdera stated Mr. Benner indicated that they will initially have only two equipment
cabinets, but the drawing only shows one with twelve antennas. Mr. Pazdera stated he
feels there should be a consistent Application. Mr. Benner stated he feels the drawing on
C-2 was intended to be a schematic drawing. Mr. Benner stated these are Conditional
Use drawings; and Mr. Pazdera stated while he recognizes this, he is concerned that the
Application has inconsistencies, and he would like to know specifically what will be
constructed. Mr. Benner stated the Zoning drawings on Sheet S-1 show the maximum
build-out for the site. Mr. Pazdera asked what they are building initially when they
install the antennas, and Mr. Parsia stated there will be two equipment cabinets.
Mr. Pazdera questioned why the drawings show one. Mr. Benner stated there will be a
Mr. Cylinder asked why they would not change the drawings now. Mr. Benner stated if
this is a concern, they would agree that the Final Conditional Use drawings will show an
amendment to Sheet C-2.
Mr. Pazdera stated he would like the drawings to be consistent. He stated the structural
report indicates the pole is 118’ but they have indicated it is 122’ feet. He is concerned
that these inconsistencies should have been taken care of before they came to the
Planning Commission. He stated he is concerned since they had this same problem with
this tower previously where there were inconsistencies.
Mr. Donaghy asked if they are requesting approval at this time for six cabinets, and
Mr. Benner stated they are asking Conditional Use Approval for the use. He stated as the
site developers out, T-Mobile will have to apply for and receive Building Permits.
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 8 of 10
Ms. Frick stated this is the first Application that she has seen this way and any
Conditional Use Approval she has seen has always been for exactly what was wanted as
far as shelters, antennas, etc. are concerned; and the Conditional Use Plans have always
governed the Building Permits she has issued. She stated this is true for all towers and
not just the one under discussion. She stated she has never had one in stages like this one
Mr. Donaghy asked if by emphasizing “use” Mr. Benner is indicating that any approval
received from the Board of Supervisors will apply only to the “use” and not the
configuration of the number of antennas, cabinets, etc. Mr. Benner stated this
Application is unusual as they do have the inconsistency between what the structural
report indicates and what the Zoning drawings indicate, and he has been trying to fashion
a way to reconcile that inconsistency and still allow T-Mobile to address their immediate
need to close the gap in their service. In this instance he is asking that the Township
approve the Conditional Use on the grounds that there be no more than twelve antennas
and six cabinets with the understanding that there will be two Applications for two
Permits – the initial Permit and the subsequent Permit. Mr. Donaghy stated it is clear that
there will have to be additional Permits as they have not supplied the information to date
to support twelve antennas. Mr. Donaghy stated it also appears that there is an
inconsistency in the Plans between S-1 and C-2 with regard to the cabinets, and
Mr. Benner stated this can be corrected before they go before the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Frick stated in the past the Planning Commission was involved in a discussion
of colors, shutter types, etc. in several other Applications.
Mr. Pazdera stated while he does not have a concern moving this on to the Board of
Supervisors, he wants to be assured that when the Supervisors see it, things will be
consistent and covered. Mr. Benner stated the number of cabinets will be addressed prior
to the Board of Supervisors, but he does not feel that they will have the structural report
by that time since T-Mobile has no control over this. Mr. Donaghy stated at this time it
would appear that the structural report would only justify nine antennas although that is
not to say that twelve may not be possible; but the report at this time only supports nine.
He noted the Planning Commission could make a recommendation with conditions
attached, and he provided suggested conditions of Approval.
Ms. Friedman asked if there are going to be more towers in the Township in the future,
but no one was aware of anything specific. Ms. Frick stated there is land set aside in the
Mr. Dickson asked when the tower was constructed; and Mr. Benner stated the
Conditional Use Approval was in 1998, and the tower was constructed shortly thereafter.
Mr. Dickson stated the Township has been considering the possible expansion of
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 9 of 10
looked into the possibility of the need in the future for a flashing light on the tower if the
runway is expanded.
Mr. Benner stated he cannot speak for
Comcast, the Applicant at that time, to show that the tower met FAA safety standards;
and they did. He stated he could not speculate on the future. Mr. Bush stated he does not
feel they are discussing expansion of the runways at Trenton-Mercer, and are only
considering expanding the terminal facilities. He stated the runways are already quite
Mr. Bush stated he feels there is a concern with the number of towers throughout the
Township, and he feels it is good that they are putting their antennas on an existing tower
provided the discrepancies that have been noted are rectified.
Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to
recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Conditional Use Application,
Plans dated 3/17/06, last revised 7/27/06 subject to compliance with the Schoor DePalma
letter dated 9/18/06. It is recommended that Approval of the Conditional Use be for
construction of an antenna platform and up to six cabinets and that there be no more than
nine antenna on the platform unless they provide additional information to the Township
and the Board of Supervisors to support a maximum of twelve antennas. Plans should be
amended so that they are consistent with regard to the number of cabinets, location, and
height of the pole.
Mr. Dickson stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 6, the Traffic
Advisory Committee asked that a representative from the Board of Supervisors and from
the Planning Commission attend a joint meeting with
evening at 8:00 p.m. to discuss the potential impact the
on the traffic patterns on Dolington and Lindenhurst Roads as it would impact Lower
Mr. Pazdera thanked Mr. Majewski for his help in preparing the information they
presented at Community Pride Day. Mr. Smith thanked those who were present that day
who helped publicize the work done by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Pazdera stated the next meeting of the Planning Commission to be held on 9/25/06
will be dedicated to Matrix provided the Township receives the Plans.
September 11, 2006 Planning Commission – page 10 of 10
There being no further business, Mr. Bush moved, Mr. Dickson seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
Tony Bush, Secretary