I would like to ask our communities help and support by attending the Zoning Board of Appeals for Addison Township on April 12 at 6 p.m.to voice their opinion and show their disapproval on the proposed 197-foot Verizon Cell tower 150 feet from a kindergarten school and 70 feet from its playground.
The site they have proposed and want variances of fall zones is an inappropriate fit and very risky for the children for what Verizon wants to achieve, which is to better serve and provide more coverage of their cellular service.
Not only is this parcel next to a kindergarten school and playground (Kingsbury Country Day charter school), it is a very low swampy parcel that would have difficulty making a good foundation for the enormous 197-foot tower whereby, the likelihood of it falling over would be great. In addition to anything falling off of it and hitting the children, like ice. Their proposed site plan has ascertained that the property has no firm ground and is why they want to place it way too close to the school and lot line. Risking lives at the school and property is not what should be allowed! This is why we have an ordinance for wireless communication towers in the first place with proper sized lots of 20 acres and proper setbacks of 50-plus feet taller than the tower.
The ZBA and the township leadership has cost us in the community already a ton of money legally defending their insistence on violating the township zoning ordinance on cell towers. For what- $18,000 a year? Is our children’s lives and our history worth so little? The fact is the legal challenges are not going to end, as there are other errors found and abutting land owners were not properly notified of the hearings. The costs will outweigh any income from this tower if it is placed at the proposed location.
Below is a list of the facts that the township and Verizon ignore and do not share with you:
The ZBA has consistently denied private land owners (not the township) variances on size of structures due to undersized lot size that does not fit the ordinances claiming it is self-created. They also have denied the private land owners based on the height of a structure to be too tall by only a few feet. (please see case 17-04 Powell for details for example of these. There are more).
The setback/fall zone Verizon wants would allow the tower to fall on the playground/school and onto Oakwood Rd. depending on which way it falls. The setback requirements of the ordinance properly places the tower on this proposed property in the middle of the swamp. Thereby negating that this variance be allowed on this lot.
The Verizon attorney Jonathan Crane stated in the hearings and meetings that he personally drove up and down Hosner looking for a site and there were no willing sellers. Mr. Crane never provided a list of properties he tried to locate the tower onto and whom he asked for permission from to the ZBA before or after making this statement to confirm that indeed there is no other place to place it. He was asked to provide the list by the citizens present (the board did not) and he agreed. We are still waiting for the list. We know there are many lot owners up and down Hosner willing to place the tower for the same amount they wish to pay the township.
Addison Township leadership is ignoring and not addressing the health and safety liability the township will now be on the hook for by the ZBA allowing Verizon to build a cell tower on a lot that is too small for a fall zone that would not be able to have a viable foundation in a swamp, in addition to possibility of a cancer risk and risk of debris (like ice, pieces of equipment) falling from the tower and hitting the children in the playground 70 feet away among other factors presented to the ZBA. These liabilities become the township’s as they have a standard that is in place (the ordinance) in which to deny this tower based upon the risks and why the ordinance and other ordinances were created in the first place.
What we can say here is that the township has a biased attitude to deny toward private lot owners- but in this Verizon/Addison Twp. case they will break all the rules to get it approved. The facts remain that Verizon and the township are subverting the very definition, spirit and purpose of what the ordinance was to avoid having on parcels of land in the township by placing the tower there. The township & Verizon have not demonstrated that the facility is consistent with and promotes the intent of the township zoning ordinance. It should be denied.
If the township is so hell-bent on getting lease money for the tower, why hasn’t the Addison Township board considered doing a property swap with Kingsbury School? Swapping the old school building, grounds and acreage less the old cemetery for acreage only quarter-mile south on Hosner of the proposed location.
This would be the best solution to this legal mess the twp. board and the ZBA have made for our community. Because believe me, the legal challenges are not going to end. They are only in the beginning stages. Do we really want to spend our money on a fight the twp. will lose?
Ron Renaud, Addison Township