Residents may have noticed signs placed at the entrances to The Colony Pool Club and Esternay Field informing the public of a Scoping Hearing to be held on January 15, 2019 at 6:30PM at the Municipal Building.
The Scooping Hearing is necessary because T-Mobile Northeast, LLC, overstayed the lease terms for temporary cell towers authorized by the Green Acres Program at Colony Pool and Esternay Field, both Green Acres restricted property.
In the spring of 2017, the Township Committee authorized Legal Counsel to begin a Landlord-Tenant eviction action. However, before that eviction action was commenced, T-Mobile sued the Township seeking to remain at the Township sites until the electric utility granted T-Mobile permission to relocate to the new high tension electric towers.
The Superior Court of New Jersey allowed T-Mobile to remain on the Township sites in order to preserve the health, safety and welfare of Township residents who faced the loss of emergency cell connection if the cell towers were removed.
However, the Superior Court ordered that T-Mobile pay double the rent, be responsible for all Township damages from the overstay and ordered that the appropriate Green Acres Program diversion application be filed.
Because T-Mobile overstayed the Green Acres authorized lease term, the Green Acres Program considered the overstay a diversion of Green Acres restricted property.
A diversion requires T-Mobile to reimburse the Township for the value of the diverted land. In this case, because the diversion was temporary, during the overstay of the cell towers, determining the value of the diversion took time.
At the December 13, 2018 Township Committee meeting, the Township Committee authorized a Reimbursement Agreement with T-Mobile for T-Mobile to pay the Township for the value of the diverted property.
The Scoping Hearing is part of the process for the State House Commission to approve the diversion.
This process has been lengthy, time consuming and expensive. However, all expenses, including Legal Counsel fees are the responsibility of T-Mobile.
The Scoping Hearing requires notice, including the signs at the two properties, personal notice to adjoining residents, newspaper notice and on the Township website.
The Scoping Hearing will lay out the above and provide the public an opportunity to comment.
Chatham Township’s Legal Counsel Albert Cruz, along with T-Mobile attorney, will chair the Scoping Hearing.
The temporary cell towers were removed earlier this year and the properties fully restored.