Residents push back against plan to build Verizon cell towers along Jersey Shore beach

The battle surrounding Verizon’s plan to build cell towers in Belmar continues to heat up.

"I personally think it’s a bad idea because we need to preserve the best environment for our beach," said one Belmar resident.

"It’s a good idea. Excellent, they should bring it to Point Pleasant. Hopefully, when they build these towers it’s going to be much better" said another beachgoer who wants enhanced cell service.

In 2020, Verizon presented a plan to increase cell service by installing 5G cell towers along the Belmar boardwalk. The area is particularly busy during the summer months as beachgoers flock to the area.

Verizon took Belmar officials to court as the company attempts to move forward with the plan. But some locals, like Councilwoman Jodi Kinney, say they worry the towers will be an eyesore.

"We pushed back, but unfortunately the lawsuit had to be settled because we were not able to push them off this billion-dollar company," Kinney said.

Under the 2022 settlement, Belmar officials and Verizon agreed to 20 5G poles that would be approximately 30 feet tall.

However, the fight is still not over. Monmouth County is now tied up in litigation with Verizon, with county leaders saying they want Verizon to show evidence that the service is needed.

"Show us the data that it is needed to have these monopoles every 100 feet on this beautiful shoreline," said Tom Arnone, the Monmouth County Commissioner Director.

County officials say legal proceedings with Verizon are ongoing.

In a statement, Verizon told FOX 5 NY in a statement:

"Verizon's network improvements provide crucial connectivity for emergency service providers and customers in the community. With consumers and businesses using more and more data each year, we have continually been enhancing our network to meet the needs of homeowners and public safety agencies, as well as vacationers going down the shore.

We have installed similar cell sites in adjacent communities with no negative impact for residents or wildlife.

Verizon works hard to maintain transparent, inclusive, and collaborative relationships with communities where we're enhancing our network. Our teams continually ensure compliance with all relevant and applicable Federal, State and local laws and local procedures.  That's been the case from the beginning and that process continues today. "