Edison NJ Homeowners Battle Verizon and Beverly Hills Investor over Cell Tower Plan

Edison New Jersey Homeowners Are Fighting Verizon Wireless And A Beverly Hills Shopping Center Investor Over A Controversial Proposal To Build a 96-Foot Cell Tower Near Private Homes.


Edison, NJ -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/19/2014 -- Opposition to a controversial plan to construct a 96-foot cell tower near residential properties in Edison NJ is growing. Verizon Wireless has requested that the Edison Township NJ Zoning Board approve a plan to construct a large 96-foot cell tower behind residential properties on Knapp Avenue in Edison. At a recent Edison NJ Zoning Board Hearing on January 28th a small number of property owners voiced strong opposition, but since that meeting an increasing number of homeowners and residents are opposing the plan as they become aware of the details. Go here for more information

The proposed cell tower would be located at a southern corner of the Festival Plaza Shopping Center in Edison, behind homes on Knapp Avenue and near a gas station at the corner of Route 27 and Knapp Avenue. Michael McCarthy of McCarthy Properties in Beverly Hills, California purchased the Festival Plaza Shopping Center in 2008. According to Mr. McCarthy’s company website, McCarthy Properties owns or invests in other shopping centers including the Grand Mart Plaza in Pomona California.

One Knapp Avenue property owner who was present at the Zoning Board Hearing in January said, "I was stunned to see just how close Verizon wants to construct a 96-foot cellular tower to residential properties. It is too close to homes and it is unfair to local homeowners. When a cell tower goes up next to homes, the value of those homes always falls, and often dramatically. That is undeniable and everyone knows it. Most homebuyers faced with a choice between buying a home next to a cell tower versus buying one not next to a cell tower, would make the obvious choice. There is significantly less demand for homes next to cell towers, and less demand always equals lower property values.”

He added, “There are a number of reasons why people don’t want to buy homes next to cell towers. Cell towers are ugly, they can collapse or catch fire and many people are concerned about the potential health risks. Credible experts on both sides have different opinions on the health risk issue and it may be years it is known for certain, one way or the other, if radiation from cell towers poses a risk. But in terms of property values that does not matter. It is the perceived risk that lessens demand for homes next to cell towers, and less demand always means lower prices.”

The local Edison property owner also said, “The owner of the Festival Plaza Shopping Center is Michael McCarthy who is a successful shopping center investor from Beverly Hills, California with no roots in the community other than his commercial real estate investments. And Verizon Wireless is part of, or soon to be part of Verizon Communications, a company worth over $130 Billion and the largest wireless operator in the US. It would be a slap in the face to local property owners if these two parties are allowed to increase their profits at the direct expense of local homeowners, who will see their property values drop if this cell tower goes up.”

He adds, “These homes are peoples nest eggs. The homes near the proposed tower often represent a major portion of the net worth of the homeowners in the area, in contrast to large commercial investors like Mr. McCarthy from Beverly Hills. I can’t overstate how unfair it would be to local property owners who stand to be financially hurt while a Beverly Hills investor attempts to squeeze every last dollar out of his shopping center investment in Edison.”

The proposed cell tower would be located near homes on Knapp Avenue, Eardley Road, Division Street, Gaskill Avenue, Ovington Avenue, Division Street and Route 27 in Edison, between Plainfield Avenue and Duclos Lane.

The next hearing on the matter by the Edison Township Zoning Board is currently scheduled for April 22, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Edison Municipal Building located at 100 Municipal Boulevard in Edison. Concerned Edison residents and property owners can attend and present any objections to the Verizon application. Click here

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