April 8, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 7
Ham radio operator proposes antenna towers
by Frank J. McMahon A Franklin Lakes ham radio operator has proposed the installation of two 89 foot high retractable lattice type towers on his property on Algonquin Road. The towers would be topped with antennas that would reach up to 105 feet high for the operation of his ham radio system. Greg Goldman has applied to the borough’s board of adjustment for variances for the height of the two towers, which would exceed the 15 foot maximum height allowed by 74 feet. The towers would be retracted when not in use, and he plans to locate them in the front yard of his nineacre property. A variance is also required for having an accessory structure in a front yard. Goldman’s property consists of two lots with driveway access from Algonquin Road, and 210-foot frontage on Franklin Lake Road. He is constructing a two story frame and masonry dwelling on the east side of the property near the lake, which is at the rear of the dwelling. The two towers would be located in his front yard west of his house near his driveway, and the closest house is located 262 feet from the proposed towers, while other houses in the area are located between 315 and 486 feet from that area. When lowered, the towers would be 23 feet high, or about 40 feet high with the antennas, which could extend up to 50 feet horizontally. In response to questions by his attorney, Struble Ragno, Goldman told the board he has been a licensed amateur radio operator for 52 years and that ham radio operators provide a service to the community during major emergencies. He said the local emergency services would have access to his property in any emergency. According to Goldman, the towers need to be the proposed height to ensure the antennas will extend above the 90 foot high trees in the densely wooded area. He explained that the towers would be painted with a camouflage paint, and there would be an eight to 10 foot high anti-climbing screen to prevent anyone from climbing on them. Board Chairman Steve DiFlora asked Goldman to provide a drawing to scale of the entire antennae assembly prepared by an engineer or the manufacturer of the antennas. He explained that he wants to see the array of antennas being proposed. Goldman said his transmission would use 1,000 watts of electricity. He said there would be no radiation emitted, nor would the transmissions interfere with radio or television signals in the area. He told the board he expects to use the radio 10 to 15 hours a week when he is not using it for an emergency, and he would agree to a condition that the towers must be taken down within six months after his death, or if the ownership of his property changes. Professional Engineer George James, who testified on Goldman’s behalf, told the board the towers would have very little visibility from the road or from other nearby properties. “I don’t think you will see them at all with the trees even when the leaves are off the trees,” James said. Eugene Niemiec, a radio frequency expert, also testified for the applicant. He described the types of frequencies ham radio operators use, and explained that the higher the antennas are, the less power they need to transmit farther. He also pointed out that the sun tends to degrade the signal transmission, so the amateur radio operator has to operate on different frequencies at different time during the day or night. (continued on page 15)
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