Neighbors in Washington Township are continuing their fight against a new cell tower, but the board of trustees says the township does not have the power to stop the project.
Several residents spoke against the project at a township board of trustees meeting Monday night. Crews have broken ground on the cell tower, which is set to be constructed on West Social Row Road.
“What we want is a little bit of time,” said David Brannon, one of the neighbors opposed to the cell tower.
“If that tower falls, it may actually wipe out the barn where my horse is,” said Leslie Walker, whose house is next door to the cell tower’s location.
A group of concerned neighbors is in the process of hiring an attorney to pursue legal action, Walker said.
“I’m not opposed to it being somewhere,” she said, suggesting the cell tower be built in a field across the street. “I’m not opposed to not seeing it at all. I’m opposed to literally having it right in my backyard almost on my property.”
Scott Paulson, president of the Washington Township board of trustees, said he’s just as frustrated as the neighbors regarding the process. But the board’s hands are tied since the cell tower project is under the authority of state law, he explained.
The township also does not have the power to change the zoning of the land in this case, Paulson said.
“Our law director and zoning development services director have spent many hours researching, looking for ways that we can make some change here,” Paulson said.
That means working with state legislators to try to change state law in a way that could help the township and its residents in future cases, he added.
“Rep. [Niraj] Antani has expressed willingness to put a bill forward, so we’re going to give him all the data, all the support that we can to try to make a change to this law that would not only benefit us, but the entire state,” Paulson said.
2 NEWS knocked on the door of the home where the cell tower is being built. No one answered the door when our crew was there, but the homeowner has previously said off-camera that he originally didn’t want the cell tower to be built there, turning down three offers before receiving one he considered too good to refuse.