UPDATE After 15 years of negotiations to correct a two-mile wide cellular dead zone, Mahwah City Council (NJ) finds Wireless Edge in breach of its September contract to secure a carrier for its proposed cell tower.
The motion to approve a resolution giving Wireless Edge a 45-day default notice came after resident Helene Yagoda received an email from Verizon executive Mark Cocchieri. According to NorthJersey.com, Yagoda forwarded the email to Borough Administrator Quentin Wiest who expressed concern over Cocchieri’s statement that the proposed tower charge was “so high it was prohibitive” and that no further discussions were planned.
Speaking at a city council meeting last week, Wiest said, “This is disturbing. The implication is that not only are discussions, at least with Verizon, not going well, but they may not be going at all.”
The proposed tower would solve cellular problems for an estimated 5,500 residents who reside and work in the dead zone.
“I thought the mayor and council’s responsibility is to ensure we have a safe town to live in,” Yagoda said during the public portion of the meeting. “This is not a safe town where I live if I can’t use my cell phone.”
Although finding a carrier is a major issue causing delays, the tower has also faced setbacks over environmental concerns. NorthJersey.com reported several residents filed an appeal with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seeking a hearing to assess the quality of wetlands on a residential property abutting the firehouse site. The DEP denied the hearing request but advised the township to “add their own assessment of the adjacent property to their Letter of Intent seeking DEP clearance to install the tower.”
Boswell Engineering conducted the assessment and submitted it to the DEP yesterday, however, it’s unknown how long the agency will take for its review and approval.
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