No Cell Tower at Larchmont Swim Club, Mount Laurel, NJ

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We, the undersigned, represent citizens opposed to the placement of a Verizon cell phone tower on land located at 291 Larchmont Blvd. and respectfully ask the Mt Laurel Township Zoning Board to deny Verizon's request for a zoning variance.

Verizon intends to build a 125-foot tall cell tower on land owned by Oila Larchmont Lp, the property known as Larchmont Swim Club. This location is in the middle of a residential area, adjacent to public tennis and basketball courts, and directly across the street from the Larchmont Elementary School. It seems hard to imagine a more inappropriate location.

We, the undersigned, oppose the cell tower for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

Intrusion into Residential Areas
Our primary objection to the tower is the impact the selected location will have on our neighborhood. The tower will stand at 125 feet tall, towering over our homes and being an eyesore to the entire surrounding area.

The variance application states that the construction of this tower is "consistent with the spirit, purpose and intent of the Township Code and in no way detrimentally affects the community or its residents" and yet the current use of this property is a swim club situated in the middle of several neighborhoods. Verizon's assertion that a 125 foot tower is within the 'spirit' of the land's intended purpose is a stretch, at best.

The application also states that antennas will be installed on an existing structure, where Verizon already has antennas so the change will have minimal impact on the visual aesthetics of the location. At this time, there is no readily visible structure on the property that comes close to standing 125 feet above the surrounding homes and public tennis and basketball courts. It seems unclear how a tower of that size could have a 'minimal impact'.

Verizon's main argument for the necessity of the tower is to address a gap in coverage. This claim of a gap in coverage is not supported by Verizon's own website which indicates great coverage in this entire area.

Further, Verizon has an existing 180 foot telecommunications tower at 2028 Briggs Road, not two miles from the proposed location of this new tower. Could these claimed gaps in coverage not be addressed by additional equipment being placed on the tower they already have in this area?

In addition, there is another tower located about a quarter mile further up Briggs Road from the existing Verizon tower. It is on the Rowan campus and, according to Antenna Search website, it is a tower owned by Burlington County. Isn't it more practical to explore using this existing structure for Verizon's claimed needs versus building a new tower in the middle of several neighborhoods?

And what about all the open area along Fostertown Road or Route 38 - isn't an area further away from residential neighborhoods better situated for a telecommunications tower?

The proposed sight of the new structure doesn't seem to have taken into consideration all of the viable options available to Verizon for telecommunications equipment. We ask the board to deny the requested zoning variance when other options are available that wouldn't place undue incursion upon the surrounding neighborhoods.


Health Hazards for Children

“Children exposed to EMFs (electromagnetic fields) are especially vulnerable” (European Parliament Resolution of April 2, 2009). While the Telecommunications Act of 1996 may prohibit challenges of “undesirable health effects,” other countries and various communities in the United States have banned or are banning cell towers because of the hazards they pose to children. “Children are at the greatest risk, due to their thinner skulls, and rapid rate of growth” (GeoEngineering Watch). Studies downplaying health hazards were conducted on adults, not on children.

As the long-term impact of cell phone towers on neighborhoods, wildlife, and individuals is still unknown, we call for the need for extreme precaution. This proposed location is directly across Union Mill Road from the Larchmont Elementary School. Is there any cause to run the risk of harm to our children when reasonable alternatives are available to Verizon?

Diminished Property Values and Aesthetics

According to a 2005 study published in the Appraisal Journal, “the results of the sales analysis show prices of properties were reduced by around 21% after a CPBS [cell phone tower] was built in the neighborhood.”

We understand that the federal courts have already ruled that a municipality has no obligation to allow intrusive cell phone tower installations anywhere within its borders when adequate coverage already exists. Verizon and other telecommunications companies should be required to find more appropriate locations in commercial and industrial zones and exhaust all alternative scenarios before being granted a zoning variance to build a tower in the middle of a residential area.

We proudly join the growing coalition of citizens across the country who are standing up to the intrusion of cell phone towers into residential areas. We urge you to support the residents of Larchmont Estates and all of Mount Laurel and prevent the placement of a cell phone tower at the Larchmont Swim Club, located at 291 Larchmont Blvd., Mount Laurel, NJ.



The concerned parents, residents, homeowners, and others who have voluntarily signed this petition.

This petition was delivered to:

Zoning Board Secretary
Mount Laurel Township Zoning Board


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