The Westwood Zoning Board unanimously approved an application from MetroPCS to build a 25-foot cell phone tower above Pascack Theaters during a special meeting Tuesday.
As a condition of the approval, the tower will be housed inside a rectangular faux-brick case which will match the existing building.
Westwood borough attorney Russell Huntington argued against the plan's approval before the vote, saying that MetroPCS had not made enough of an effort to obtain space in the nearby cell tower at the Westwood Fire Department. Huntington said it would be best to have as many cell providers as possible share each tower in order to minimize the number that are built.
"Otherwise, there would be cell towers all over the place and, let's face it, they're ugly," Huntington said.
MetroPCS bid on space on the fire department tower three times since 2008, according to Greg Meese, the company's attorney for the application. The specifications set by Westwood did not meet those the company needs, so the deal never went through. MetroPCS sent a response to the most recent bid on August 29, which Huntington said did not give the borough enough time to respond and alter the specifications.
"As of tonight, the firehouse facility is not available," Meese said.
Huntington said the board should deny the application if MetroPCS was not willing to grant more time for the borough to work on the fire department tower specifications. Meese previously said the company would not grant anymore extensions for the board to consider the plan.
"The borough was doing all the work in trying to get the bid correct," Huntington said.
The theater location has several advantages over the fire department, according to Meese. The borough tower is not disguised like the new one will be, and the existing tower is also more than 200 feet closer to the closest home, he said.
"There is nothing that would commend that tower over this one, other than that the borough owns it," Meese said.
Board members said they believe MetroPCS had made enough attempts to work with the borough's tower.
"Three times is more than enough attempts," zoning board member Eric Oakes said.