New Height Restriction Exemption: New Pinelands Comprehensive Management (CMP) rules went into effect on August 21, 1995. They apply only to management areas where the 35' height restriction applies (i.e. not in Regional Growth and Pinelands Town Managment Areas.)
Towers As "Optional" Use: Municipalities, under the Pinelands Plan, have the option of whether to accept such facilities and where to put them (as long as the sites are consistent with the Pinelands rules, see below.) However, variances for such uses have been determined to be "inherently beneficial uses" by state courts. As such, they do not need to prove positive impacts, just show that the negative impacts are not "substantially detrimental". For such impacts, the effects of radiation may not be considered (due to the State's passage of the Radiation Protection Act.) Recent Federal legislation further constrains the ability of both the Pinelands Commission and municipalities to ban communication facilities.
Siting Plan Required for Entire Pinelands Area: To be exempt from the 35' height limitation, a comprehensive plan must be submitted to the Commission and approved showing that the least number of such towers is being proposed.
a. Public hearing: Within 60 days of the submission of a complete plan, a public hearing on the plan will be held. (Commenters should focus on how the plan meets Pinelands rules.)
b. Joint plan required: The plan must be submitted jointly by all providers, where feasible, and shall provide for joint construction and use of facilities.
c. Least number analysis: The Commission has contracted with an outside expert to help evaluate whether the plan truly proposes the least number of towers.
Siting Requirements: In addition to showing that the number of new facilities is the least number, other siting criteria require that a proposed tower:
a. Use existing facilities where feasible. New facilities must be built to accommodate other service providers.
b. Minimize visual impacts from public areas, from special scenic areas in the Pinelands, and from residential areas by meeting buffering requirements of municipality.
c. Locate in disturbed areas to minimize environmental impacts. New facilities must locate in non-residential zones, non-conservation public lands, mines, first aid or fire stations, and landfills.
d. Height restriction less than 200'
Removal of tower and restoration of site required within 12 months of when user ceases operations. Any facility that is now oversized (due to cessation of part of the facility's operations) must be reduced within 12 months.
For further information, please the Pinelands Commission, (609) 894-7300.