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UPDATE: Cinnaminson Residents Concerned Over Proposed Radio Tower

The proposed FM tower would be built next to the existing AM tower near the Moorestown-Cinnaminson border.

The existing AM radio tower off Church Street, near the Moorestown-Cinnaminson border. Credit: Rob Scott
The existing AM radio tower off Church Street, near the Moorestown-Cinnaminson border. Credit: Rob Scott

UPDATE: The hearing regarding the proposed FM radio tower on North Church Street will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the IT room at Moorestown High School.

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When Kathleen Johnston first moved into her Concord Drive home in Cinnaminson 10 years ago, she thought her house was haunted. Why else would voices be coming out of her light switches and outlets?

One visit from an electrician later and Johnston learned the voices weren’t anything supernatural—interference from the radio tower near her home was the root of the problem.

The AM radio tower—located in an open field off Church Street, at the Moorestown-Cinnaminson border—was built roughly 60 years ago (before most of the surrounding homes) and a number of Cinnaminson residents say it’s been a source of disturbances ever since. Now they’re concerned a proposed second tower will create even more problems.

Arlene Creach, who lives nearby on Lexington Drive, said she’s grappled with interference from the tower since she moved in 42 years ago.

“As soon as we moved in, we had major problems. I thought we had a haunted house,” said Creach, echoing Johnston.

People calling her house would hear radio broadcasts coming through the phone, she said. “People used to tell us to turn the radio down, but we didn’t have the radio on. The phone company put four filters on our phone to stop the interference … It still comes through sometimes.”

CBS Radio East Inc., which owns the existing tower and the 21 acres it sits on, sent letters to residents near the tower earlier this month informing them of its intention to build a separate tower for FM broadcasting closer to the road. But Johnston claimed many of the residents affected by the AM tower, which number in the "hundreds," may not have gotten the letter.

The proposed 199-foot tower would allow the radio to stay on the air even during outages, like the ones that occurred during Hurricane Sandy, according to Moorestown zoning officer Pete Clifford.

Johnston, Creach and others who live nearby fear the troubles the AM tower caused—interference, the radio coming through appliances, inability to get on the Internet—will return or become exacerbated if a second tower goes up.

“We paid several thousand dollars to have our whole house rewired. And it did work, thank God,” said Johnston. “Now you’re telling me there’s going to be a second tower? … I don’t know if my neighbors can afford $4,000 to have the whole house rewired.”

Johnston and Creach also expressed some concern over the lack of information regarding the potential unseen—or rather, unheard—consequences of radio waves and their impact on physical health.

CBS did not respond to a request for comment sent Friday.

CBS will appear before the Moorestown Zoning Board Tuesday night seeking variances for the project. Chiefly, CBS seeks a variance because radio towers are not an allowed use in the SRI (Specially Restricted Industrial) zone, as well as permission to exceed the 45-foot height restriction placed on buildings in the SRI zone.

The zoning board meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the IT room at Moorestown High School.
Chip January 20, 2014 at 06:38 AM
Funny! I live near the tower, have had problems for years! I never received a notice about the new addition. I will attend to voice my concern. Typical $$$$$$$$$$$ big business over the working guy! Thanks for the article, Rob! We never would have known.........
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 07:28 AM
The tower was there BEFORE all you moved in. You KNEW it was there and still moved close to it.. Don't complain about something you knew about up front..
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Its like if you (not saying you specifically chip)moved next to a sewer treatment plant or a garbage dump and then complained about it after. You knew it up front
Susan Mazza Murnane January 20, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Dear Mr. Hall When we moved here in 1965, I am quite sure that my parents did not know how the tower was going to affect the wiring in their homes then and over the years. Back then we did not have a television and the phone lines came later. Since then I have bought my parents home and I still live here and yes I knew the tower was there and it did cause several issues. However, what we and my parents did not buy into is for more than one tower to be built and possible even more if this is approved. This tower is in Moorestown far, far away from any residents so it does not affect them. The Cinnaminson residents are not complaining because we just have nothing better to do. This is a real issue that should be addressed.
John January 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM
Some people just like to STIR up trouble with there nutty comments and some like to change the subject so to all that like to do this stuff your welcome but try and be understanding of the problems that are occuring ok...
John Plath January 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Thought I was the only person that had a problem. When we moved in the baby monitor would alarm us when a man's voice would start talking from our kids bedroom. Is it the realtor or the townships legal responsibility to notify house buyers of such issues if they are of a health concern?
Susan Mazza Murnane January 20, 2014 at 10:28 AM
The reason I plan to attend meeting tomorrow night, is to find out are there health issues? And can they add more than just this tower.
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 01:27 PM
its been there 60 years, health issues are a factor but its not like they snuck it in one night and put it up. Ya don't like it, move away. Its that simple.
Paula January 20, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Welcome back Hugh! It's been a while. New screen name and your message hasn't changed :( :(.
Susan Mazza Murnane January 20, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Dear Mr. Hall: You seem to state that there are health issues for over 60 years. Please share with us where you obtained those facts?
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 03:28 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_radiation_and_health
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 04:28 PM
radio waves are radio waves.. just different frequencies
Hugh J. Hall January 20, 2014 at 04:33 PM
http://www.cellphonesafety.org/health/radio.htm
Chip January 20, 2014 at 04:41 PM
Wow. I opened a can of worms! No, I did not contemplate the impact of the tower when I purchased my home 22 years ago. My bad! However, now that an addition/upgrade is being made, it is my hope that the new tower does not impact my current state. I guess my proactive nature is looked upon as complaining. Ha! I pray for those with limited mindsets.
John January 20, 2014 at 04:48 PM
No matter how U say it Chip, U will get people that will bad mouth what U say...Good Luck....
Barb Rivera January 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Hugh has proved himself to be one thing! A Troll!! Ignore ignorance, he isn't worth a response.
Ruth Mays January 21, 2014 at 12:33 AM
We live just three houses away from the Cinnaminson border where the current tower is. When we bought our house in 1976, we had no idea that this tower would cause problems, but oh boy were we wrong. We have had singing light bulbs in the dining room, can't use a telephone answering machine, can't listen to soft music on the stereo, have had terrible interference problems with the Cable tv. At least our plumbing has not taken to speaking, like that of some of our neighbors. One of the neighbors installed fluorescent ceiling lights, and then found that they would not turn off once turned on because of the radio energy. The only AM station we can receive is the one coming from that tower, which is a 50,000 Watt clear channel station. Did we get a letter? No, we did not, but we should have. I hope they reschedule the meeting because of the impending snowstorm.
Phil January 21, 2014 at 06:29 AM
It's Moorestown, they don't care about Cinnaminson. They'll build right up to our border with no regards to how it'll affect our residents. Township Committee, if they approve the tower, revoke any and all shared agreements with Moorestown, like the court usage. Seriously, you're never going to get Moorestown to care about anyone but Moorestown unless you play big hardball with them.
agent itchy January 21, 2014 at 07:56 AM
Dear NIMBYs. There are hundreds of thousands of radio, tv and mobile phone towers in the US. Anyone who's ever driven past the Roxborough tower farm (13 towers) can clearly see where we get our network television (38 stations) and other invisible products and services. I don't recall reading anything about health issues of people living in Roxborough. Certainly, they'd be perfect test subjects with 13 towers. http://www.fybush.com/site-031009.html
agent itchy January 21, 2014 at 08:05 AM
when the first roads were built for cars, i'm sure horse riders found the pavement causing problems to their traditional method of transportation. the fact that Ms Mays has singing light bulbs and can't listen to AM radio is certainly is valid inconvenience, but so was modern pavement. i remember when Storer cable came into our town and began cutting through driveways and lawns to lay underground cable. the outrage was quite vocal. here's a link to a company specializing in shielding home from EMF waves. http://www.safespaceprotection.com/electrostress-from-home-appliances.aspx
Phil January 21, 2014 at 02:03 PM
Yeah Pundit, it's easy to call people NIMBY when it doesn't affect you. Hey agent itchy, re-read the comments, people aren't so much upset with the existing tower, although if it came down tomorrow there wouldn't be any tears shed, they're upset a NEW tower might be built near homes that already exist. There's a big difference there.
Dan Reynolds January 21, 2014 at 03:19 PM
Man, I feel for people near the tower. Moving in, looking at a house it's not like you really test out living there with electronics before you buy it. Years ago my wife and I lived near several transmission towers in Philly. We never needed a TV antenna to get every station crystal clear.. Out cordless picked up kyw and WXTU at the same time. Radio amplifiers just had to be turned on to pick up some random station.
AnoninCinna January 22, 2014 at 01:02 PM
While I agree that people who don't want to live near a radio tower shouldn't purchase a house near one, it sounds like the current tower was built after some residents already lived here. As for the new tower, maybe CBS should look at other parcels of land further from residential developments.
Lynne Lihotz January 26, 2014 at 10:17 PM
A few comments to those who have posted previously: As noted, THE PUBLIC HEARING IS RESCHEDULED for February 18 at Moorestown High School at 7:30 pm. Despite the number of people that are affected in the area, the "use variance notice of public hearing" was only given to people within a few hundred feet of the property border. Please tell your neighbors of the meeting if they may have concerns. Perhaps a change in this ordinance should be discussed at the meeting too. I consulted an electrical engineer that specialized in radio broadcast transmission towers and was provided with some important information. It is well known that FM broadcasting will interfere much more (and at a lower power) than AM transmission, so we that are already affected plus perhaps additional people that are not currently experiencing interference will have new issues. We may have to deal with the AM tower because it is grandfathered, but a new tower would not be. He suggested that people should petition to have the AM tower moved away from homes. He stated simply that radio transmission towers simply do not belong in populated areas nearby homes. Perhaps if CBS agrees to take the legal responsibility to rectify any intrusive interference that makes its way into our homes that is caused by the tower, that may be a possible compromise. I grew up across town from the AM tower near Mainline and the AM antenna interfered nearly as badly as at my Concord Drive home. My parents' house was 5 years old when we moved in, so this issue does not have anything to do with "worn" wiring as someone suggested on the Moorestown patch.
Susan Mazza Murnane January 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Thanks Rob Scott and Lynne for the update. I will attend the meeting. I am not sure we can stop a 2nd tower but I need to understand how this will affect me or by some amazing luck, CBS decide to build elsewhere.

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