All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: October 15, 2013
A. OPENING OF SPECIAL MEETING
1. Call to Order
A special meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor MacArthur. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location, and to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the bulletin board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. This Notice, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on September 26, 2013.
2. Roll Call
Deputy Mayor Loveys
ABSENT: Councilman Hirniak (excused due to illness)
3. Mayor MacArthur led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor MacArthur read an email from the President of the Board of Education, Tammy MacKay. “Dear Tom, Our closed Executive Session tonight will require full participation of all Board Members, we will therefore not have a presence at the township meeting tonight. But if questioned about the cell tower at our meeting, we will clearly communicate that we have had access to all reports and had a representative sit on the committee. The Board of Education is fully aware of the project.”
Manager Lovell explained that as a result of the three historic October weather events, an Emergency Management Committee was formed. Councilwoman Veech is the Chairperson, with members, Councilman Napoliello, Councilwoman Carey, and Maryann Spagnuolo from the Board of Education. I think all the members are here tonight, Joanne is the chair, Al is here & Christine is here. A number of steps have been taken over the last several years to prepare for emergencies in Randolph Township; those include the creation of 4 emergency centers, 3 with emergency generator back up as of today. Emergency generator backup for the 4th center will be completed shortly. There was also a need to improve communications with residents, and an investment was made in a SwiftReach program. The township website has been greatly enhanced, and a township Facebook page was created. Electronic message signs have been placed in 4 locations in Randolph Township; there will be a message sign in front of the Municipal Building by January 2014. The committee also determined that cell phone service in a major event is very important. From employees communicating via cell phones in emergencies to the recent tragedies that have occurred in the country, reliable cell phone service is vital. Based upon that, the issue of how to enhance emergency cell phone service was revisited. The committee authorized the hiring of a consultant, received two proposals, and ultimately hired PierCon Solutions, LLC. Manager Lovell introduced Glenn Pierson of PierCon Solutions, LLC to present his findings from the two studies.
Glenn Pierson explained that he had been retained to look at the cellular service in and around the municipal building, the high school and the middle school and determine what the need is, what the extent of coverage that exists right now, and to then determine what the levels of radio signals are presently to the people that are in the area. Mr. Pierson presented his background and provided information on the clients that PierCon has worked with and are currently working with. Mr. Pierson explained that he has an electrical engineering degree from NJIT. He further explained that in New Jersey, telecommunications engineers do not need a Professional Engineer license.
Glenn Pierson reported the below findings for the analysis of the existing radio frequency environment:
Description of Site—On Site Findings:
On April 14, 2013, radio frequency engineer and personnel from PierCon Solutions, Frances Boschulte and Chris Conroy, arranged school access from David Browne, the Superintendent for the Randolph Board of Education. During the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m., PierCon Solutions performed an on-site survey and recorded measurements of the radio frequency (RF) environment at the Randolph Township Municipal Building and the immediate surrounding school properties. The survey employed industry standard test equipment and techniques.
The on-site survey and recorded measurements included the following five areas:
- The Municipal Building for Randolph Township located at 502 Millbrook Avenue
- The Randolph High School, located at 511 Millbrook Avenue and parking area
- The Randolph Middle School, located at 507 Millbrook Avenue
- The Randolph track and baseball field at 507 Millbrook Avenue
- Center Grove Elementary School and playground, located at 25 School House Road
On May 16, 2013 PierCon Solutions performed a second on site survey during the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and recorded measurements of the radio frequency (RF) environment at two additional locations per Randolph Township’s request:
- DaSilva Field located at 511 Millbrook Avenue
- Randolph Police target range located at 502 Millbrook Avenue
On June 17, 2013, at the request of Randolph Township, PierCon Solutions performed a survey to include measurements along the fence property line north of the Municipal Court adjacent to the residential property.
Measurements & Results:
A total of 289 measurements were taken in and around the eight areas described in Section 2. Analysis of the readings revealed that the highest RF exposure level recorded occurred in the Randolph High School gymnasium at a level of 23.6% of the FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) for the General Public (where levels up to 100% are in compliance). This level was based on initial readings recorded by the equipment along with appropriate factors applied.
The methodology used to derive RF exposure levels consists of 3 steps. The first step is the initial reading which is recorded by the equipment using the Occupational standard. There is a 5 times factor between the Occupational and General Public standards, therefore, the initial reading is increased by a factor of five. The second step is to apply a 2 times multiplication factor as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to account for a worse case equipment tolerance. Given that the radio systems often have busy times where the transmitters are more active, or more transmitters are active, PierCon Solutions adds a third step. Step three applies an additional 2 times multiplication factor to account for these busier times. With the busy time factor included, the highest % MPE for the Randolph Municipal area is 23.6%, indicating the radio frequency environment anywhere near the Municipal Building is well within the FCC General Public MPE.
Several measurements were taken inside and around the Randolph Municipal Building, Randolph High School and Middle School, and the Center Grove Elementary School. The locations of the measured values are plotted on a Google aerial map. Each colored symbol represents the measurement at a particular location and correlates with the “General Public % of MPE for Estimated Busy Time” for that location. The number to the right of each colored symbol represents the total number of test points that fall within that particular range.
In the figure, all of the measurements recorded (with correction factors applied) are less than 25% of the FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure levels allowed for the general public. The range of values is from 0.0% to 23.6% for the estimated busy time. The values are distributed in a relatively random order across the seven site surveys. The highest levels are located in the gymnasium of the Randolph High School indicating that the RF exposure levels are likely a contribution of some nearby equipment installations or a contribution of some short range sources in close proximity, such as those used to provide Wi-Fi service. Some of the RF Exposure levels have a significant variation from one point to the next. This variation indicates either a nearby radio transmitter is operating intermittently or the levels are a sum of several radio sources which are adding together and reflecting off surfaces (which creates an adding and subtracting effect) resulting in measured differences.
The conclusion represents the analysis and compliance assessment by PierCon Solutions, LLC of the measured RF environment at the Randolph Municipal Building and the surrounding area. This includes measurements taken inside the Randolph High School, Middle School, and Elementary School buildings. The analysis includes on-site measurements and the combined measured values for all wireless communication sources.
Analysis of the RF environment indicates that all nine locations listed afterward: Randolph Municipal Building, Randolph Municipal property line near fence, Randolph’s three schools, the playground, the track, the ball field and the police target range are below 25% of the FCC General Public MPE. These values were obtained assuming worst case conditions for busy time and equipment tolerance, applying safety factor to data collected using special averaging techniques. The results demonstrate that all areas tested are 4 times lower than the permissible general public MPE levels. The Randolph Municipal Building and the surrounding areas are therefore in full compliance with FCC guidelines, as well as ANSI, IEEE and the NCRP guidelines for the frequencies regulated by the FCC.
Glenn Pierson reported the below findings for the independent analysis of the wireless telecommunications providers existing baseline coverage:
Purpose & Scope:
The objective of the analysis was to determine if any gaps in coverage existed for each of the four major wireless telecommunications providers and if so, where a wireless facility could be placed to remedy the gaps in coverage. The focus of the analysis was limited to the area of Randolph near the Municipal Building, High School and Middle School located along Millbrook Avenue, the Elementary School along Schoolhouse Road, and the nearby surrounding area.
There are four major wireless communications providers providing service in Randolph. They are AT&T Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless (“Providers”). They are all commercial wireless communications service providers licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide cellular service and Personal Communications Service (PCS) throughout the Morris County area.
Each of the Providers hold FCC licenses in one or more frequency bands. There are a total of four frequency bands currently in use by the major Providers in Randolph. They are:
- Cellular service in the 850 MHz frequency band
- Personal Communication Services (PCS) in the 1900 MHz frequency band
- Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) in the 2100 MHz frequency band
- Long Term Evolution (LTE or 4G) service in the 700 MHz frequency band
The Cellular and LTE frequency bands have similar coverage characteristics. Therefore for this analysis, since AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless are the only Providers licensed in the Cellular and LTE frequency bands, only Cellular signal measurements were taken.
The PCS and AWS frequencies are inherently more adversely affected by various local factors than at Cellular and LTE frequencies. PCS and AWS signals are more sensitive to such factors as topography, terrain, close-in clutter (trees, nearby foliage, buildings), and general area foliage as compared to Cellular or LTE frequency bands.
The general use of each frequency band varies by Provider. The Cellular Band is used for Voice and 3G data (speeds of 500Kbit/sec to 2000 Kbit/sec) and the LTE band is used for LTE Fourth Generation (4G) broadband data (2 Mbit/sec to 10 Mbit/sec) data. The PCS and AWS bands are used for Voice, Third Generation (3G) data and 4G/LTE data depending on the Provider.
The operation of a commercial wireless communications system is dependent upon an intermeshed network of wireless communication facilities—often called base stations or cell sites. A wireless base station facility communicates with each user’s mobile handset through a pair of wireless frequencies. Each wireless communications facility is designed to use low transmit power and provide a limited broadcast range. In order to provide for seamless communications, it is essential that the radio coverage from each such facility overlaps with adjacent facilities. This design factor allows users to engage in uninterrupted wireless telephone conversations and remain connected as they move across a geographic region. A gap in coverage exists when the wireless user cannot reliably initiate, receive or continue telephone conversations or establish a data session on the wireless network.
The area of service coverage which an individual wireless telecommunications facility can provide is affected by its antenna height, transmitter power and the characteristics of its surrounding area. Generally, the optimum antenna height for a wireless communication facility is between 100 and 150 feet AGL. Height requirements are also influenced by mean ground elevation at the site, the wireless carrier’s coverage objective and expected user traffic.
The design objective for each wireless communications carrier is to provide seamless, ubiquitous, reliable wireless service to their users in accordance with the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999. Carriers achieve this objective by designing their network to supply signal levels sufficient to support reliable in-vehicle and in-building communications. Today’s wireless systems provide enhanced communications beyond the initial expectations for voice communication along roadways. The demand to provide in-building communications, for voice data communications, and for enhanced E-911 access, is a paramount requirement in today’s wireless systems.
Designing a wireless telecommunications network involves balancing the need for coverage and capacity. Coverage is the ability of each site to provide reliable signal to the network of expected users. Capacity is the ability of the site to support simultaneous user traffic. This design balance is accomplished through an analysis of demographics, terrain and long term planning.
The level of signal that defines the reliable coverage boundary of a site varies on the desired coverage level and the characteristics of each area being served. The signal level is often called a design threshold and is derived from industry standard definitions of receiver sensitivity, voice quality and the data throughput, along with statistically quantifiable variations in the physical surroundings. The design threshold takes into account additional losses associated with the location of the user, such as on-street, in-vehicle or in-building. For the purposes of this analysis, two design thresholds are referenced. The first is a range between -85 dBm and -90 dBm (depending on the technology and provider) which represents the signal level needed on the street to provide reliable coverage in wood frame structures similar to those found in suburban areas of Randolph. The second design threshold is a range from -75 dBm to -80 dBm (depending on the technology and provider) which represents the signal level required on the street to provide reliable coverage inside the average masonry or metal building similar to the Township of Randolph Municipal Building and the nearby schools. The reference signal that is measured for the Design Threshold for CDMA systems (used by Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS) is Peak Pilot Power (Peak Ec). The reference signal for UMTS systems (used by AT&T and T-Mobile) is Peak Scrambling Code Power (SC Peak Ec).
Radio Frequency Engineering Activities Performed:
In the course of the analysis described in the report, PierCon engineers performed the following tasks:
- Reviewed USGS Topographical Map of the Township of Randolph and surrounding areas
- Reviewed aerial photographs of the Township of Randolph
- Reviewed tax maps of the Township of Randolph
- Performed an engineering site visit and drove the area, reviewing terrain and tree line
- Reviewed the location and design of adjacent wireless communications facilities
- Created and obtained Township of Randolph approval of a drive route for the baseline test
- Gathered and analyzed baseline signal strength data recorded using a calibrated Agilent digital receiver
The results of the existing baseline tests for the four major Providers are as follows (Exhibits A-F are shown in the report in Appendix A):
- Exhibit A—AT&T 1900 MHz UMTS Baseline Scan Data
- Exhibit B—AT&T 800 MHz UMTS Baseline Scan Data
- Exhibit C—Sprint 1900 MHz CDMA Baseline Scan Data
- Exhibit D—T-Mobile 2100 MHz UMTS Baseline Scan Data
- Exhibit E—Verizon Wireless 800 MHz CDMA Baseline Scan Data
- Exhibit F—Verizon Wireless 1900 MHz CDMA Baseline Scan Data
The signal levels from the 800 MHz exhibits (B&E) are significantly better than the other 1900 MHz exhibits. This is mainly due to the propagation characteristics between the lower 800 MHz frequency band and the higher 1900 MHz frequency band. The target for reliable suburban coverage is to have almost all test points with signal levels better than -85 dBm with allowance for some test points with signal levels of -85 dBm to -90 dBm. For the areas with dense metal or masonry buildings, the target is to have predominantly all signal levels better than -75 dBm with allowance for some test points with signal levels of -75 dBm to -80 dBm.
For both AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless, the Cellular 800 MHz coverage is adequate in most of Randolph for suburban (inside wood structures), with almost all signal strengths at -85 dBm or better. As for coverage inside the municipal and school buildings (-75 dBm to -80 dBm), the signal levels fall short at the High School and are marginal at the Municipal and Middle School buildings. Center Grove Elementary School has adequate in-building coverage.
The 1900 MHz baseline scan data for AT&T and Verizon Wireless is shown to have significantly lower signal levels as compared to the 800 MHz exhibits. Both providers have marginal to poor suburban coverage. The signal levels near the municipal and school buildings do not meet the Design Threshold for dense steel and masonry buildings.
The 1900 MHz baseline plot for Sprint demonstrates that Sprint has a few areas of marginal suburban coverage in the Randolph area and poor in-building coverage for the municipal and school buildings.
The baseline plot for T-Mobile demonstrates that T-Mobile has a few areas of marginal suburban coverage near the High School and north on Millbrook Avenue. There is a larger poor coverage area to the west. This may be due to T-Mobile not being co-located on a wireless facility that other providers are using or that they have not deployed their UMTS technology to that western area at the time of testing. Either way, it is reasonable to assume that T-Mobile should not need a new structure and could have similar coverage as Sprint by either co-locating on an existing wireless facility or adding UMTS channels to an existing T-Mobile facility. T-Mobile does not have in-building coverage in the municipal and school buildings.
T-Mobile is unique in one aspect; they appear to be the only provider to have a facility at the fire house located on Millbrook Avenue near Carrell Road. There is a wireless facility located at the fire house that has a faux flagpole which conceals the antennas. A faux flagpole is limited in respect to the quantity and type of antennas that can be accommodated. The flagpole design is often limited to housing only two or three Providers. Therefore it cannot be assumed that all four Providers could co-locate in the existing flagpole at the fire house.
The baseline scan data analysis has indicated that none of the Providers have adequate in-building coverage for the Township of Randolph Municipal Building, High School and Middle School, regardless of the frequency band. The 1900 MHz exhibits demonstrate that the signal levels for not only the municipal and school buildings fail to meet the Design Threshold, but there are other nearby areas which have marginal or poor suburban coverage. It is reasonable to assume that some or all of the Providers may be interested in improving the coverage in the area of Millbrook Avenue and the municipal complex. There are several ways to improve the coverage, each method having advantages and disadvantages.
The traditional and most effective method of increasing coverage for a Provider is to deploy a macrocell by co-locating on, or erecting a new, wireless communications structure. The structure height needed to accommodate the four major Providers and provide adequate coverage to the area is approximately 130’ provided it is a conventional monopole or lattice tower structure. If a specific stealth structure is desired, the height will have to be evaluated based on the preferred stealth structure type. The only nearby existing structures with sufficient height and capacity would be the electric transmission towers that are east and south of the municipal complex. Unfortunately these towers are approximately 1/2 mile away which would not provide the level of in-building coverage desired. Many of these electric transmissions towers are several thousands of feet from main roads and utilities, with poor, steep access trails. The electric transmissions towers that have good access are to the south, down the hill and would not be able to provide in-building coverage for the High School which is located in a depression on top of the hill. Hence, it is believed that the electric transmission towers are not feasible structures for providing the level of desired coverage. Given there are no existing structures in the nearby area that meet that criteria, a new structure would be required.
The next step was to analyze the baseline scan data to determine the best location for a new wireless telecommunications structure. The ideal location should provide in-building coverage to the municipal and school buildings as well as alleviate low signal areas on Oak Lane, and at the intersection of Millbrook Avenue and Everdale Road. In addition, the ideal location should be strategically placed to distribute traffic from the municipal and school buildings evenly in all directions from the wireless facility. This ideal location would be on the high ground elevation between the High School and Middle School (near the long jump facility). When considering all factors including ground space required for a new wireless facility, the ideal location may not be a feasible location. Based on the assumption that the location between the High School and Middle School is not feasible, the second best location would be near the Township of Randolph Municipal Building. Specifically, the location just south of the Municipal Building and perpendicular to the dividing line between the High School and the Middle School appears to be feasible. This location next to the Municipal Building should provide the desired coverage and allow the Providers to balance user traffic on the facility. An estimate of the PCS/AWS suburban coverage (-85 dBm) and the coverage for inside dense buildings (-75 dBm) that can be obtained from a structure located on the south side of the Municipal Building is shown in Exhibit G of the report. The height of 120’ was chosen to be representative of the average coverage area that could be obtained from a structure located at the Municipal Building, assuming there may be Providers located at, above or below the 120’ height.
An alternate method of providing in-building coverage to the municipal and school buildings would be to place wireless facilities on one or more of the municipal and/or school building rooftops. Since the buildings are only one or two stories in height, the coverage obtained from this solution would be limited to the complex and portions of Millbrook Road. In addition, since the antennas would be much closer to the ground and pedestrians (being on short structures), they may be considered by some to be more obtrusive than a 130’ tall communications structure several hundred feet away. This solution may also not be favored by the Providers due to the cost to deploy a wireless facility versus the amount of coverage and customers the facility will service, possibly not providing a sufficient return on investment often required by companies to obtain funding for a project.
A third solution could be to add in-building equipment in each municipal and school building. This equipment would receive signals from the rooftop of the said building, amplify or “boost” the signal, and redistribute the signal using several antennas inside the buildings. This can be provided by each Provider or a neutral system could be deployed that each Provider would connect into. In order to accommodate all four major Providers, the neutral system would be the best, but would be expensive. If each provider installed their own system, the amount of equipment and antennas would be intrusive. In addition, it may be difficult to entice all four Providers to participate in the solutions for all four buildings, leaving coverage inconsistent between providers.
Lastly, an outdoor distributed antenna system (DAS) could be deployed in the areas of concern. This solution is similar to the 3rd solution above except on a larger scale. An outdoor DAS system is intended to leverage existing utility poles and buildings for attaching fiber equipment and antennas. A nearby location would have to be dedicated for the location of a wireless telecommunication facility. This facility would house only the radio base station equipment and no tall antenna support structure would be required at the facility. The facility is connected to the remote to utility poles and buildings via fiber optic cables where radio amplifiers and antennas (called Nodes) are placed to provide coverage. There could be as many as 30 to 50 such Nodes to provide coverage equivalent to a traditional wireless telecommunication facility with a 130’ structure. The challenges associated with an outdoor DAS solution are:
a) Lack of battery back-up in case of commercial power failure
b) Lack of accurate E911 location information in certain instances
c) Availability of utility poles and buildings to install Nodes as required
d) The close proximity of radio amplifiers and antennas to utility pole workers
e) The additional cost to implement an outdoor DAS solution over a traditional macrocell solution
After performing our independent radio frequency analysis of existing baseline coverage provided by the four major wireless telecommunications providers in Randolph, New Jersey, PierCon Solutions concludes there are areas of the township that do not have sufficient signal strength for coverage inside nearby buildings and along some streets. The four major providers analyzed were AT&T Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The levels of coverage considered were suburban coverage with a signal strength Design Threshold of -85 to -90 dBm, and inside dense buildings with a signal strength Design Threshold of -75 to -80 dBm. The focus of the analysis was limited to the area of Randolph near the Municipal Building, High School and Middle School, located along Millbrook Avenue, the Elementary School along Schoolhouse Road, and the nearby surrounding area.
In order to provide the desired in-building coverage for the Township of Randolph municipal and school buildings, PierCon Solutions concludes that, from a radio frequency engineering standpoint, the best overall solution is to construct a wireless telecommunications macrocell with a new antenna support structure at the south end of the Municipal Building. This location will provide a significant degree of coverage to the area and enhance in-building coverage in the Municipal Building, High School, Middle School, and Elementary School. The antenna support structure associated with the facility is estimated to be 130’ tall and may vary based on location on the property.
C. DISCUSSION ITEMS
1. Questions and Answers
Q: What is the difference between 800 MHz and 1900 MHz?
A: As you go up in frequency, the physical characteristics change. AM radio uses a frequency that is extremely low, police radios use 150 MHz, and cellular is at 800 MHz. The 800 MHz has a bigger footprint. The 1900 MHz wave just doesn’t travel as well; it’s the frequency the FCC had available at the time. Mr. Pierson further explained the different types of frequencies.
Q: As technology grows, will more cell towers and antennas be required?
A: Each carrier has been assigned a certain amount of frequency by the FCC. If they get a frequency that is close to 800 MHz then they will not have as much need to build more towers. But if they have to go to higher frequencies to add more services, they’re going to need more sites.
Q: Are these frequencies dictated by the phone that you have, or can a phone work on any of the frequencies?
A: Yes, it depends on the phone you have, the carrier, and how old it is.
Q: You use the phrase “if there’s capacity,” does the number of users in an immediate area effect whether there’s capacity?
A: Absolutely, there are only so many people who can call or have a data session, etc. on any given site.
Q: Is there a relationship between capacity and frequency?
A: If you get at the same size bucket at each of the frequencies because everything is in megahertz, how many megahertz you have, how much frequency you have, so if you take the same 10 MHz, if everyone has 10 MHz, they will be able to get the same capacity out of each of the frequencies. Each allotment the FCC put out there is a different size; there are variations.
Q: Relative to the 800 MHz carriers, in terms of in-building coverage, specifically the high school or the middle school, based on what’s up there, would that generally be considered reliable in-building coverage?
A: AT&T would be marginal and Verizon doesn’t have any signal there.
Q: When you did this study, did you go to the police department, which is in the basement, or was this just standing outside?
A: It was tested from in the vehicle. And then we know, if I measure a 75 out on the street from the top of the roof of the minivan, I look at that building, that building is going to be 30 dBm. So when I go into that building, it’s not going to be 75, but 100. Normally your phone will operate at -90, -95 because you can lose 10 dBm in a car, getting into a structure, you lose X amount of signal strength. Yes, it would normally be worse in a basement.
Q: Is that (above) because of the way the building is constructed?
A: Yes, radio waves don’t go through the man made material.
Q: The way the waves go, it’s the distance away from the municipal building, you’re going to see the higher numbers and that’s why you actually see the higher numbers there?
A: Most likely. I would say if you’re out in the parking lot most of the signal from the radio police system is out there.
Q: The biggest numbers seem to be at the high school.
A: Yes, the highest number is at the gymnasium door at the high school. It depends on what’s going on around there when it’s tested.
Q: You described that the way these radio frequencies travel, you would expect the highest concentrations further out. In your opinion, are these higher measurements potentially coming from the tower or is it too far away or is it likely other stuff in the school that’s generating that?
A: From a distance stand point, you’re probably at a distance where you wouldn’t be able to read it once you’re in the building. We just showed we lost 20 dBm getting into this building. If I lose 20 dBm it falls off this, so all this is coming from inside.
Q: What is the distance from the gymnasium door to where the municipal tower is?
A: About 800 feet.
Q: The school superintendent mentioned to us that they put a booster or amplifier in the high school to assist cell service. Does that have any effect on radio frequencies?
Q: Is it most likely coming from the booster that was put in the gym?
A: I cannot give a conclusion to that because it could be a lot of things technically. I would have to go out there with a different tool that splits out all the different frequencies. That wasn’t the intent of this study. The signal booster adds with what’s coming from the balance of the fluorescent lights which adds with other things. So it is a possibility, especially since that was a little higher than a raw reading of 6%. You are within 20 feet if there’s a booster there.
Q: What time of day were these readings done?
A: The time is stamped on the reports; the study was done during the school day.
Q: I can see where some things could fluctuate and cause that, the number of people driving by, etc. Is there any attribute of a cell tower that would cause the readings to go up and down?
Q: Is it usage of people that would drive that?
Q: Can you expect high readings around solar panels?
A: I’ve never seen them, but it depends. There could be some other circuitry on them that’s creating something, but I don’t think it would be terribly significant.
Q: When our committee met, we asked for a study to determine the existing level of radio signals to people in the area. We were thinking that they were all coming from the municipal tower, and what I’m hearing from you now is that it’s not just the municipal tower, it’s everything going on.
A: Yes, many different contributing factors.
Q: When we came back to you the second time we asked if we put 4 carriers on, what would the difference be to overlay?
A: We can’t do an exact study on, if the cell tower went up, what the numbers would increase to because it depends on exactly where the tower would be. There are a couple of variables, but we’ve measured several times right around the offices and 100’ foot, maybe 120’ tower and that’s with all the carriers on it; the most was 2% on that side.
Q: Are you saying to put another cell tower, the amount that tower would add to these numbers is going to be fairly insignificant?
Q: So that is the main point here?
A: Right, you might add 3% or 4% to this, and that’s with the correction factors. There are a whole bunch of calculations that the FCC requires everybody to use; you will calculate this signal model to this point and then you will assume 4 times more than that.
Q: Did you itemize all the different antennas that are on the municipal tower and what they’re putting out?
A: No, because I was not doing a theoretical calculation on this, I was taking the measurement.
Q: I have a diagram here that shows pretty much the most you have at ground level from a tower is in the range of a couple of hundred feet. It’s not what’s at base level, it’s not right next to the tower or 50’ away, is this pretty accurate this picture, that shows that this is where it max’s out from the tower?
Q: So then, that’s not consistent with the numbers that you’re seeing around the fields right? It’s not right next to the tower; it’s a couple hundred feet away.
A: It’s possible, whether it’s coming from that or whether it’s coming from the radio station with 50,000 watts, or maybe it’s half and half. Or maybe the fire radios transmitting, the police radios transmitting and the radio station was transmitting and there were a couple of kids around with some cell phones.
Q: Where there’s cell phone use, there is going to be more radiation, right?
A: If you’re around a lot of phones that are active.
Q: Did you test the Municipal Building or the nursery school?
A: We tested the Municipal Building and along the fence line near the Montessori School.
Q: And those levels were all lower than the school?
Q: If you put a 120’ tower in here, can you get all 4 carriers on it topographically?
Q: So you need more than one tower or would you only be able to take 2 carriers?
A: I think for an area like this, the lowest carrier would probably run 100-130’ and you need a 10’ separation between each one. So if you have 4 carriers, 110’, 120’, 130’, and 140’. The existing tower is 120’.
Q: This whole study was oriented around the possible replacement of the tower behind this building. And the reason for that is because we had trouble finding any other spot at the proper elevation that would service this area. So all of these readings that we’ve been considering have all answered the question of what would the potential impact be of replacing this tower.
A: I looked at this and I questioned where the best place for a tower would be. I went by all the data that I have and I also went by where the concentration of users are. The best place would be between the middle school and the high school. So the Municipal Building was the second best place because I can do a sector going north of there to catch the middle school and fix some of the issues here and in the Municipal Building, and then I can do a sector going southwest and pick up the high school and the elementary school and going south on Millbrook.
Q: You’re basing it all on the FCC standards that are from 1996?
Q: Are you aware that the FCC is considering the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels again, that they’re taking it up right now?
A: They’re always considering it, it happens regularly.
Q: Right now they’re having a comment period and trying to determine if the SAR levels that they’ve been telling everybody are fine, are they actually safe, is that true?
A: I haven’t seen anything recent on that, but it’s an ongoing process.
Q: The SAR levels that they have, that’s based on the testing that was originally done on that; that’s based on a 6 foot adult male?
A: The Specific Absorption Rate is the absorption rate of the radio waves, and it’s per kilogram of body mass. They look at the whole body exposure and they look at hot spots and that’s how they come up with the standards. I’d have to go back & look if it’s based on a 6 foot adult male, I don’t remember.
Q: Are you familiar with all the studies and reports that have come out questioning whether the scientific basis for the SAR levels, just basing it on heat is really reflecting physiological changes in the human body or if there are other issues that could be causing damage to other people and especially to kids? And are you familiar with whether there have been sufficient studies done and testing on children which is what we’re talking about?
A: Human tissue is human tissue no matter how much they have. Whether it’s a 3 foot or 6 foot human, it doesn’t really matter, it’s a rate per kilogram. They have also looked at a standard in current percentages based upon different size people. There are different wavelengths, and it’s going to be more sensitive in one frequency than another frequency; that’s all put in there. There are new studies happening all the time. The things that you read on the internet are about 5% correct. So I’m going to stick with a particular standard that was adopted by the FCC.
Mayor MacArthur thanked Glenn Pierson and explained that this meeting was not intended to be a full discussion of the issue, but to summarize the two reports that Glenn had prepared.
D. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Meryl Zweig, of 12 Ridge Road asked John Lovell if he stood by a quote he made in the Randolph Reporter in 2011when this issue last came up, that he wouldn’t support the idea unless presented with absolute proof that the proposed cell tower would be harmless.
Manager Lovell responded that he did.
Meryl Zweig stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) is a prominent group that speaks on this, they call cell radiation a possible carcinogen just like lead and car exhaust. She stated that on the WHO website it says more testing is needed on children because children’s exposure can be different. When today’s children reach adulthood, they will have a much higher cumulative exposure to RF than today’s adults. Ms. Zweig expressed her concern about the safety of the children based on their exposure at the high school. She felt that other solutions that wouldn’t cause a safety issue, such as boosters or microcells, should be considered. She reiterated that the FCC is considering for the first time since 1996 whether they should change the safe distance guidelines because there has been so much of an outcry about safety and multiple studies. Ms. Zweig explained that many countries use the precautionary principle when dealing with sensitive sites such as the high school; they either practice the precautionary principle or they place limits on cell towers around schools. She stated that it was her understanding last year when she spoke to Manager Lovell that she was going to be put on the committee, but she was never asked. She also thought that the consultant was going to determine what is currently on the tower, what is being used and what isn’t, and what would need to be on any tower; however, that was not done. Ms. Zweig provided information on the Interphone Study from 2010 and an American Medical Association study from 2011, both regarding the health effects related to cell phone use. She reiterated that the World Health Organization feels that not enough studies have been done on the long term effects on children from cell phone radiation. Ms. Zweig provided a brief description of 4 ongoing studies. In closing, she stated that she felt there was a safer way. She didn’t think the town should rush into something until more information is available because the standard is not based on current formula.
Jim Pryor of 21 Georgian Road stated that he supported the idea of a tower 100%. He explained that he is an attorney, and has represented the wireless industry for many years. He said he knows a lot of the background and that was one of the reasons he was very comfortable with it. Mr. Pryor also explained that the other reason for his interest in having the tower go in is that he has a 12 year old at the middle school and a 15 year old at the high school. He felt that if the town has the opportunity to have a tower here which is going to resolve the problem of having spotty communications at this location, then it should be done. Mr. Pryor stated that he knows the studies that Glenn Pierson was talking about and he is comfortable with them. He said that, since he has two children at the schools, if there was any possible chance of any serious health effects, then he would definitely not approve of it. Mr. Pryor commended the Council for getting an expert, and he fully supports the tower.
Meryl Zweig stated that a couple of years ago an ordinance was created which requested the owners of the towers in the township to do an annual report on the structural integrity of the towers. She felt that maybe the Council should consider a modification to that ordinance; maybe to periodically ask the tower owners to do a study like this.
Maggie Finneran of 63 Everdale Road stated that she is also the Chairman of Zoning Board, and that cases on cell towers are heard very often at meetings. She said that the Zoning Board cannot deny them, they’re necessary, and if they deny a tower or location of an antenna or a dish, they go to court. Ms. Finneran explained that there are cell towers are all over town, and kids live in the homes right next to the towers. She stated that a tremendous amount of testimony has been heard from carriers indicating that they’re safe. And if the future shows them to be bad, then there’s no way anyone would allow the towers to be there. Ms. Finneran felt the bigger issue to be the amount of time a cell phone is put to one’s ear. She stated that technology and the need for communication cannot be stopped based on data on the Internet because it is not with the FCC at this time.
Ron Harmetz of 21 Willow Drive stated that he has been a firefighter in Randolph for over 40 years. The police department and the fire department each has its own radio, but residents would be surprised to see how much cell phone use is used in an emergency. He felt that from a public health and safety point of view, a cell tower is very important as far as emergency response is concerned, independent of the other radios. Mr. Harmetz thought that anything the Council could do to improve the communication would be very helpful to the emergency responders. He felt that incidents such as 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy have shown how important communication is, and he believed it to in the interest of health & public safety.
Christopher Graham of 57 Ridgewood Drive asked Glenn Pierson what type of consulting he had done for these wireless companies.
Glenn Pierson replied that he has designed their sites, and he has provided testimony for them. In the past he has done a lot of work for cell phone companies, but now it is approximately 5% of his work.
Meryl Zweig commented that she was on the Board of Adjustment with Maggie Finneran. She said the board heard cell phone cases, but never heard the health facts. Ms. Zweig stated that the FCC bans using health effects as a reason to deny a tower. She asked Glenn Pierson if it is correct that the FCC bans evidence of health effects from use for the reason to deny a tower.
Glenn Pierson stated that it is correct. He explained that if the tower owner can provide testimony to demonstrate that they meet the standard, they cannot be denied because of that.
Meryl Zweig commented that neither she nor Ms. Finneran heard about health effects while serving on the Board of Adjustment. Ms. Zweig stated that she thought it would behoove the town to look at these studies and pay attention to them. She said she would forward the information to the Council.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
E. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilman Guadagno stated that during Superstorm Sandy, there was no cell communication from the Municipal Building, the headquarters during an emergency. He felt that it is something that is a necessity for the town, and something that’s a safety factor in an emergency. Councilman Guadagno stated that he is 100% for this project.
Councilwoman Veech told of an incident during Superstorm Sandy where she asked a DPW worker on her street what was happening in the town. He said he didn’t know because his cell phone didn’t work and the township lines were down, and that he was just going from street to street. She felt that from the emergency management work group that just started, the idea of having a safe form of communication for residents is paramount. Councilwoman Veech stated that she wasn’t sure that an increase of 2-4% on top of the current readings is the issue. She felt that having cell phones in pockets and holding them to one’s ear would do more damage than an increase in the exposure level of 2%.
Mayor MacArthur stated that several locations for cell towers have been researched in the past, but there was a question of whether they would be beneficial to the area near the Municipal Building. The ideal location between the high school and the middle school would not be acceptable. He felt that the only place to consider a tower is where one already exists, to try to update the current tower to provide better functionality. Mayor MacArthur felt the Council owes it to the residents to explore that option because if there were a real emergency at the high school or middle school, and the possibility of improving communication had been ignored, then he would feel like the Council had failed the children. The Mayor thought that replacing the tower needs to be explored.
Manager Lovell felt that the topic should be put on a future Council agenda to discuss what the options are to go the next step in looking at how to make future decisions. He explained that the services of the consultant have not been completed. The Manager explained that the reason that there wasn’t an examination of what is on the top of the current tower is because the police dispatch was changed to the county communication system. That study will now be done. Manager Lovell explained that he has read studies on the Internet and still has difficulty understanding the impacts of the towers since there are studies with information for and against cell towers. The goal of the township has been to share information with the public. A member from the Board of Education was also a part of the committee. He further explained that after the study was received, it was put on the township website for all to review, and contacts were made to those people who were opposed to cell towers in the past. Manager Lovell would like the topic included on a future Council agenda so the discussion can continue and the next step in the process can be determined.
F. EXECUTIVE SESSION
There was no Executive Session.
Councilwoman Veech made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m. Councilman Guadagno seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Loveys
ABSENT: Councilman Hirniak