The Warren Township Committee will be voting on a contract for a $12,000 study looking into the viability of a distributed antenna system for cell phone service in the township.
Distributed antenna systems offer an alternative to tall antenna towers, using newer technology that is more compact. Many residents first learned about DAS during the heated battle over a proposed tower for the Dock Watch Hollow quarry property in 2011.
Mayor Victor Sordillo, a member of the township's Technology Committee, said the committee has recommended the study to determine if such a system could work with Warren's terrain.
"Right now, cell towers are the way of getting complete coverage in a town for your cell phone service," he said. He noted the DAS systems "little boxes" are less intrusive and can be placed "around town to replace the need to have a cell tower."
"And what we want to determine is it possible to do that in Warren Township," Mayor Sordillo added.
He noted the township's ordinance governing antenna towers, written 15 years ago, included language requiring the use of newer technology whenever possible. Township Committeewoman Carolann Garafola said the ordinance was written that way "out of a belief we needed to keep cell towers away from schools."
Committee members expressed their support for the study, and Township Administrator Mark Krane said a contract will be prepared for the committee to approve at an upcoming meeting.