Battle brewing over cell tower in Mercer Co.

September 13, 2011 2:45:56 PM PDT
There is a battle brewing in one town in Mercer County, New Jersey over a proposal to build a 160 foot cell phone tower in the community.

It would be so big and so tall some Hamilton residents are calling it Godzilla. Maryland-based Liberty Towers wants to put the tower on D'Amico Avenue in a lot behind a restaurant called The Pub.

Joe Evanko lives across the street.

"It's an obvious concern about property values for the surrounding homes, the immediate homes. I mean would you want to have a 160 foot tower right in your backyard?" he said.

"I think it's going to be an eyesore," said Annemarie Miskolczi. "I think it shouldn't be in a residential area."

Locals point out that the website for Clearwire, the internet service that would use the tower, shows it's already got coverage here. In fact, two other towers are about a half mile away from the D'Amico Ave. site, including one located behind town hall.

"We're recommending a denial of the application based on the fact that they haven't proven at this point there's any gap in coverage," said Planning and Compliance Director Robert Warney.

Liberty Towers was supposed to go before the zoning board on Tuesday night to outline its plans and present its application but that's been postponed until next month. When reached by phone, the company's CEO had no comment.

"You have to go through the process and usually the process fares very well because all sides are heard and legally you have to do it," said Mayor John Bencivengo.

The mayor says everyone will get a fair shake before the zoning board but he, too, opposes the tower, which would be surrounded by an 8 foot tall barbed wire fence.

Residents have retained a lawyer and vow to keep the so-called "Godzilla tower" from ever being built.

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