Lavallatte Planning Board Recommends Approving 5G Antennas Below Sure Circumstances – Lavallette-Seaside Shorebeat

A Verizon Wireless 5G node. (Photo: Verizon Wireless)

Lavallette’s planning board has recommended that five “small cell” nodes carrying Verizon Wireless’ 5G signals be allowed for construction in the city, albeit with numerous restrictions.

The planning board heard statements from the mobile operator as well as local residents during a meeting last week. According to Lavallette’s ordinance on wireless communication towers, the planning authority must make a recommendation, which must then be voted on by the city council. The ordinance follows federal regulations that limit the number of regulations local governments can enact for wireless infrastructure. The council must also make its decision before a “shot clock” expires shortly after the January 19th meeting.

District Administrator Robert Brice said the district had made several recommendations asking for approval options. They include:

  • Obtaining NJDOT approval for two poles along Route 35.
  • Ensure that all masts and devices comply with the uniform building regulations for both their buildings and their electrical components.
  • Verizon Wireless needs to clear the colors used to hide the devices for aesthetic reasons.

“These are all recommendations at this point, but they are things that the city council is likely to formally propose,” Brice said.

The district is also asking Verizon Wireless to train the district’s employees to work in and around the antennas. The company must also mark the installation and remove any old equipment.

Brice said the planning agency had also recommended moving two of the antennas – located on Liggett and Brown Streets – to another location outside of a residential area. The proposed antenna on Washington Avenue will require Verizon approval from the county because it is a county road, Brice said.

The “small cell” antennas are similar to much smaller variants of conventional cellular transponders. Called “nodes,” they provide ultra-fast data transfer using millimeter wave technology that enables connection speeds that match or exceed wired connections such as cables. The 5G devices will ultimately be used to provide not only telephone services but also wireless television, voice and general internet access for homes.

In Lavallette, a group of residents has spoken out vehemently against the construction of the nodes that will be installed on new electricity pylons to replace those already in use. They said they fear the nodes are not aesthetically pleasing and could send out harmful radio frequency signals. However, the Federal Communications Commission disagrees on health risks and has limited the ability of local communities to restrict 5G infrastructure deployed around the world.

The suggested locations for the towers in Lavallette are:

  • Near Grand Central Avenue 2000 (Pole # BT444)
  • Near 3 Liggett Road (Pole # 403488)
  • Near 103 Brown Avenue (Pole # BT45LAA)
  • Near 120 Washington Avenue
  • Near Grand Central Ave 1704 (Pole # BT4166)

The district’s regulation on wireless devices can be found at the end of this article.

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