Township council votes to institute protections against excessive electronics

Municipal governance reaffirms mission to create safe environment for all.

During its March 22 public meeting, Cherry Hill Township council took a step toward protecting citizens from the intrusion of technology. It passed an ordinance, on first reading, which allows the municipality to access its right-of-way privilege on streets and sidewalks to prevent wireless telecommunication equipment from becoming a nuisance.

Council President David Fleisher made it clear that the township cannot fully address the issue to either its own satisfaction or those of residents. A significant portion of laws governing these matters are mostly federal, with some state regulation, which allows signal-boosting mechanisms to improve service for an increasingly-wired populace.

“We have limited ability to regulate wireless carriers, but this regulates small cell wireless facilities. And what it does is it requires carriers to demonstrate service needs before installing these facilities,” noted Township Business Administrator Erin Patterson Gill.

“It also will ensure any small-cell facilities that are put up, they meet certain aesthetic standards.”

According to Gill, federal law allows carriers to install these apparati in public rights-of-way, including utility poles. The township is not permitted to stop this from occurring, but can regulate them for the limited purpose of how they appear. 

The legislation will compel any company looking to install such equipment to provide a service map to demonstrate service gaps and to justify the need for installation at a particular location. Carriers must locate them on existing poles before requesting to build new ones to house new equipment, and must adhere to strict standards when erecting a new pole, including that any new edifice would be a “stealth pole” which has the appearance of a street lamp.

“This is happening statewide. Carriers are getting requests from their customers for better service. We’re being proactive in taking steps, to make sure we can do what we can,” said Council Vice President Brian Bauerle.

The measure is expected to have a full public discussion and second reading at council’s next scheduled meeting on April 12. 

Mayor Susan Shin Angulo offered impassioned remarks regarding the mass shooting in Atlanta on March 19, where eight persons, predominantly Asian women, were killed by a white male.

“On a personal level, as both an Asian American woman and a mother, these acts have shaken me to my core. Attacks against Asian Americans also come as the country grapples with deeply-rooted racial injustices,” she said. 

“Though the township is welcoming and tolerant, it saddens me that many Asians live in fear. I know council joins me in condemning these acts of violence, and all acts of violence, hate and bigotry against all groups.”

Council introduced, and was able to easily pass a resolution expressing solidarity with the Asian American community, and all marginalized communities. The regulation additionally reaffirmed the township’s commitment to combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in all forms.

“This resolution is about recognizing these acts, unequivocally denouncing them and ensuring our vital and vibrant Asian American community knows that Cherry Hill stands in solidarity with them,” Angulo continued. 

Angulo concluded by emphasizing her greatest priority as a civic leader is ensuring the township remains a safe and inclusive community for all. 

“Hate will never have a home in Cherry Hill.”

In other news:

  • Council honored fourth grader Arabella Squilla for her effort during the month of February to collect items for donation to Camden County Women’s Center. Squilla, from Johnson Elementary, plans on continuing her charitable works for the foreseeable future.
  • Council also recognized Girl Scout Troop 30503 for its dedication and devotion to encouraging girls and young women to develop life and leadership skills.
  • The governing body additionally passed a resolution for the upgrade of the area around Columbia Lakes, to be undertaken by Wabash Valley Power Play Inc. of Monett, Mo. being awarded the contract for the purchase of insulation and table seating, including ADA compliant table and bench swing, in the amount of $30,797.49.