New Cell Phone Monopole May Land in Bloomfield

There may be a new addition to the Bloomfield skyline near the intersection of Bay Ave. and Broad St., and some nearby residents are concerned about the proposed change.

According to the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s agenda planned for Thursday night, the second order of new business will be to discuss the approval of a 120-foot cell phone monopole by T-Mobile Northeast, LLC. at the Brookside Garden Center. The owners of the property, O’Boyle Realty, will no doubt receive some sort of compensation for placing the monopole on that site.

A lifelong resident of Bloomfield who lives near the garden center and asked not to be named, said in an email that she learned of the plan upon receiving a certified letter stating T-Mobile will be going through the Zoning Board of Adjustment to request “a variance and site plan approval so as to construct a new 120-foot tall monopole which will hold antennas…and to locate equipment cabinets on a rooftop equipment platform…and any other variances, waivers, or other approvals that may be required.”

When asked about her reaction to learning about the monopole, the anonymous resident said, “I’m not too happy and most of my neighbors are not too happy either. It will certainly be a deterrent to our neighborhood.”

Nicholas Joanow, Bloomfield’s second-ward councilperson, said the proposal to build a 120-foot monopole in such a busy intersection is an “absolute inappropriate location. It would be a distraction…and it goes far beyond the scope of any of the buildings and any of the trees that are in that area. There are other sites that are more suitable; but this one, no.”

The “aesthetic value” of the neighborhood would be negatively impacted, said Megan Wiley, another resident in the area who was shocked learn about the monopole.

“It’s going to be a terrific eyesore,” said Wiley. “I understand that we all have cell phones and we all need them, but why do they need to put it in a residential area?”

Wiley and the anonymous resident mentioned the perceived health risks and how the property values in the area would be affected as additional concerns.

“With potential homebuyers coming to Bloomfield,” said the anonymous resident in an email, “this cell [phone] monopole will have a negative impact on our property values. We have lost enough value due to taxes and the economy we don’t need the added negativity of a cell [phone] monopole in full view of our neighborhood.”

“A home is most people’s single largest asset,” said Wiley, “and after an economic downturn like the one we’ve had, we need as much value in our homes retained as possible.”

Joanow said he was also “skeptical” of the potential health risks and concerned that it would “undermine” property values in the area, especially at a time when property values are suffering.

“Although individuals would benefit from the income derived from cell phone tower,” said Joanow, “certainly it would not be for the benefit of the township at all.”

Wiley said she herself was starting a petition, and urged residents to contact her to sign. She can be reached by email at

Joanow encouraged residents to attend the board meeting on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building. In addition, residents could send letters and make phone calls to express their concerns and objects about the cell phone monopole.

The number to contact the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which is located in room 203 of the municipal building, is 973-680-4012.

T-Mobile was contacted and said that average compensation figures could not be disclosed.

O’Boyle Realty was also contacted, but have yet to respond.

Reactions from other council members and figures from surrounding municipalities who have telecommunication towers or monopoles are still forthcoming. The story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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  1. What an awful thing to do to the homeowners on that block and the surrounding area! I hope the proposal doesn’t go through. How about moving it up Bay Ave to the corner of Ridgewood in Glen Ridge? That’ll never happen because those things do not belong in residential areas.

  2. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Especially since a member of the O’Boyle family is on the Town Council. Can you say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” Also wonder if the building can support the weight of the equipment. Rumor has it that the back of the garage has collapsed once or twice, but since I have no first hand knowledge, its just a RUMOR until proven true or false.

  3. Rumor has it that the tower will be in the front of the garden center so that t-mobil can access it 24 x 7

    There’s already no room there and the garden center uses the town sidewalks as storage .

    My previous post has not shown up here- so prdon the repetition when it does.

    Montclair’s new cell tower (105 feet) will bring in revenue of $2.4 million over 25 years- that works out to $96,000 per year . This is a taller tower – will it generate even more revenue for Peggi- who we know runs the garden center.

  4. The tower should be properly located. Why not on Bloomfield Town Hall property so that we can ALL reap the benefits?

  5. Responsible people do not oppose the installation of Cell Towers, but only the irresponsible placement of them near schools or populated areas.

    If anyone wants to learn about the adverse impacts of Cell Towers, from reducing property values, to adverse health impacts, go to View their “Links” and “Questions and Answers” pages, which contain a wealth of info and answers.
    Andrew Campanelli

  6. Kevin57, couldn’t agree more. Classic NIMBY. Same thing happens with green energy solutions.

    We could cut energy by installing a wind farm and save so much money (just don’t put it anywhere I could see it)!

  7. I don’t like big, ugly cell towers. However, I don’t have a cell phone and don’t want one. So, I feel I have a right to speak out against them if I want to.

    But it disgusts me how so many people will be so deeply hypocritical as to complain about a cell phone tower even as they pay to have a cell phone. And I’ll bet just about every home anywhere near Broad and Bay has at least one cell phone, and probably several.

    If you have a cell phone, what you are paying them to do it put a cell phone tower near your house. If they don’t, you will complain about poor reception at your home or outright lack of reception.

    Basically, if you have a cell phone, you have no right to speak out against a cell phone tower near you. That is the height or hypocrisy. What that tower is is what you paid them to do — its YOUR doing that it is going in. If you don’t want it, don’t use a cell phone. I suppose you think it should be at someone else’s corner, not yours.

    But you could legitimately talk about the particular design of the tower, the height of the tower. There are bigger towers and smaller towers, and I’ve seen some that are about the size of a street light lamp. Maybe instead of one big, ugly one, they could use a series of small, inconspicuous ones. Maybe it could be put inside the buildings, maybe add a second floor on the building in a nice architecture with the tower inside and out of sight. Maybe …

    But everyone out there who has a cell phone should just shut up about a cell phone tower going in — it is YOUR fault! There are consequences for your actions, and for having a cell phone, the consequence is a cell phone tower.

  8. Hooray for NIMBY! These towers can now be creatively designed to fit into the landscape. There is no way to stop this because the towers are “gonna come”. At least we as homeowners & business owners can hold out for an acceptable design. I like the pine trees I see along the NY Thruway. You know them, the “track your EZPASS” towers, installed years ago by Big Brother.

  9. If acceptable then the tower should be placed at the tail end of Brookside park– accross the street from the Brookside Garden Center- and the TOWN should reap the profits–not Peggi and her family.

  10. Is there some problem with cell service? If you choose to use an inferior provider than do us all a favor and switch to one that works. Not, “oh my cell phone doesn’t work because I use some cheapo service and everyone else should just suck it up.” Cell service in Greenwich CT is notoriously bad because the people there would rather not have these abominations in their midst, and I can’t say that I disagree.

  11. Cummon folks, take a deep breath and stop worrying about things like cellular monopoles, especially when this town has so many REAL issues that need to be fixed. I own in Bloomfield and go through the Bay-Broad intersection daily. Let me tell you, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s hardly anything attractive about it worth preserving. It’s just a run-of-the-mill old congested suburban random intersection. Tonight I looked and can’t imagine how this tower will really have much negative impact on it. It might actually look kind of cool/interesting if “we” just request that the owner gets “creative” and make it more of an interesting, distinguished landmark instead of some boring gray monolith. I think this is what oliveoyle was getting at. Why not candy stripe it like the famous black-white Cape Hatteras lighthouse? I think that’d be great! And actually ENHANCE the landscape. Or insist on it being covered with trellis for natural ivy to grow over. I could probably imagine a half-dozen interesting ways to go with this. Hey, and on the “community” plus side, perhaps the extra income the property owner receives will help their existing business stay healthy and thrive by keeping prices competitive. And lastly, be reminded that we all have any number of cellular-dependent gadgets that we can’t live without these days and moan and complain when there’s a crap signal. You gotta give a little to get. So grow up and stop crying NIMBY at every little thing that comes along. Or move to the country where it’s a luxury to get 3G service.

  12. And to Mr. Joanow, you’re a really nice man who I believe does a lot of good in town, but part of your role in the community is to find solutions and balance the needs of all your constituents. Rather than pandering to the vocal few in the immediate vicinity who cry NIMBY, why not offer a counterview and say that you will work with them to find an amicable solution (hello, “compromise”). We need level-headed representatives who can see a given situation for what it is and bring some rationale, balanced views to the public. Not everyone hates this idea, and clearly others above also see that. I’m not an expert in cellular monopoles, but there might be some logic to the desired placement in this location. Simply suggesting that it go elsewhere (I’m sure you’d prefer in one of the other wards) might not be the smart answer.

  13. blmfdrob, you couldn’t be more wrong in both posts. Mr. Joanow is a very “level-headed” representative. He is concerned about possible health issues as are many in this town. There are families living in the homes they purchased in that section. It’s completely unfair to them and their children to stick yet another eyesore on that intersection. I’m sure there are other places the tower could be positioned where the revenue will benefit the entire township and contribute financially for all of us.

  14. The logic is that the money goes into the O’Boyle’s pocket. That’s logical as far as town councilwoman Peggi O’ Boyle Dunugan is concerned.

    Nick Joanow represents the 2nd ward. He is OUR town councilman and WE are his constituents.If it absolutely must go in this area it should be in Brookside park where the town will get the 2.4 million dollars.

  15. So let’s see. Mrs O’Boyle tells the Mayor and his cohorts that she’ll give them carte blanche on any issues regarding Bloomfield Center’s development that they propose. In exchange, the O’Boyle family gets approval for a fat million dollar+ payday on a cellphone tower.

    Line A has a lock on the money.

  16. We are also fighting T-Mobile in Wayne against their 5 proposed sites with variance changes in a residential area. If you want to check out our website for cell tower information the website is: T-Mobile is trying to get into every square mile that they can (to play catch up and also to make a ton of money) and is not willing to co-locate with other companies, they would rather exploit the property owners who don’t realize what they are getting into, they just see the money factor. Due to a long outdated FCC regulation from back in 1996 (when cell phones and towers were at a minimum) we are not allowed to dwell on the health effects even though its a concern that for the first five years of RF exposure there’s a good change you will have headaches, trouble sleeping, etc and then after 5 years of exposure leading to cancer. And children are a lot more susceptible. The is a very important fight for the people in Bloomfield. For those that are concerned go to your town meetings to show your support. Also remember your property values will go down if you have a cell tower in your neighborhood. Good luck to the citizens of Bloomfield.



    Don’t buy your plants, grass seed, sod, landscaping, snow plowing or anything else from the OBOYLEs

    If they want to treat their neighbors this way let’s show them what we think of their decision. Tell your friends and neighbors that you will no longer patronize any O’BOYLE business.

  18. You are so right, we should all Boycott T-Mobile and if you use their service when you go to switch let them know why. And in Wayne we are doing the same thing… we’re boycotting the Wayne Racquet Club, The Auto Spa Car Wash, Preakness Realty, and the Preakness Hills Country Club. The Auto Spa owner really gets to me… he claims his business is all about going green… yep going green for the money.

    Remember that you should also explain to your town council that if T-Mobile gets their way that you, as a group, will be handing them a lawsuit to lower your property taxes to compensate for your values going down, your soon to be health problems (oops cant mention that), and the tough time you will have trying to sell your home when you have to disclose the info about the cell tower being in the area.

  19. Just knowing that my neighbors want to decorate with candy-striped monopoles makes me want to weep… Aesthetic issues aside, there are serious health risks associated with a cell phone tower and I cannot believe this proposal even made it into the zoning board agenda – it should have been automatically, irrevocably rejected, when first submitted for approval. Building a cell phone tower in such a densely populated area is nothing short of reckless.

  20. I agree with you h2bob… a candy-striped monopole! blmfdrob must be the owner of the property or someone that knows them. That person is obviously ignorant and has done no research on cell towers. That’s what stinks about RF Radiation…its unseen so people don’t realize what its doing. We are now bordering on cell tower saturation…there are just too many out there hitting us with radiation everywhere we live, drive or work. The cell phone industry has become just like the cigarette industry… denying that there are any health effects… but knowing that 10 years down the road they are going to be overloaded with lawsuits from tons of cases from cancer victims. I normally don’t speak out on anything, but this is one topic that I just cant leave alone. So to blmfdrob… google the internet for effects of cell towers and see the potential problems before you spew your nonsense.

  21. And the flag is huge and I know from experience that the flapping in the wind will be loud enough for the neighbors to hear. A flagpole is the cheapest for T-Mobile to build, that’s why they don’t like to build the pine tree types that are much more expensive. I guess T-Mobile figures that the flagpole will override the cancer effects of the RF Radiation.

  22. The O’Boyles are a hardworking, successful family. My family and I know Michael and Peggy from church and we’ve done business with the funeral home on too many sad occasions. They do a first-class job and I recommend them highly. I have no problem with any of the O’Boyles personally and admire their work and family ethic. Having said that I must again say I think erecting a cell tower on that particular property is a very bad idea and a great disservice to the homeowners and residents.

  23. Hot news. The application will be adjurned and ammended. It is off the agenda for this eveing and will be recheduled for March 10th at 7:30pm

  24. The “aesthetic value” of the neighborhood . . . that’s a good one. There’s lots of reasons not to like this project, but ruining the beautiful vistas of Broad Street in Bloomfield, NJ is NOT one of them.

  25. Just a warning: The town only has a certain amount of time to give T-Mobile their answer, its called “Shot Clock” or they could set themselves up for a lawsuit. The FCC (which protects cell companies, not people) now requires all local zoning authorities to decide Cell Tower applications within 150 days for new towers and 90 days for co-location.

    And besides to T-Mobile the extra time only means that the residents will lose interest in the battle, or so they hope. But for me it just gives the residents more time to get their battle prepared, and don’t forget to remind your neighbors to attend the new date.

  26. If they do not get the approval on the variance(s) from the Zoning Board, can they not go in front of the Town Council for their application to get through? That will be interesting if it happens.

  27. I got a reality check on Wednesday when T-Mobile set up a simulation demonstration at the location near my home in Wayne for one of their proposed cell towers. The crane was huge and the 140 foot simulated tower they put up to test the signals were not well received. We took pictures in videos so those that want to see it can: (scroll down near the bottom of the page)

    So get ready Bloomfield… your fight has just begun.

    How can they put the proposed tower in Bloomfield on such a crowded spot (wait till they start adding antennas and storage units. And isnt there a river right behind that spot… better call the Environmental Protection Agency, I’m sure they would want to know about that.

  28. I agree with Karen Banda and the others who are concerned about both the eyesore of the pole, the property values, but most of all the danger this creates by putting such a huge monstrosity in a residential area. Who is to say that there will be no accidents? So many ordinary street signs have fallen in the storms this winter – let alone trees. What if that pole were to fall over? Why should we trust a huge corporation to take care of the safety and health of our residents? And I do believe it is a conflict of interest for the O’Boyles to profit from the constructing of the cell tower on their site as well since Peggy O’Boyle sits on the Town Council (even though she claims she is only an “employee” of the Garden Center.

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