AT&T Sues New Castle Council Over School Tower Denial

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AT&T Mobility (dba, New Cingular Wireless), proposed building an 80-foot, 5G tower on the George Washington Intermediate School property (DE) to give customers “consistent and reliable service.” However, the city council unanimously rejected the conditional use permit application on January 21, based on “public dissent against the plans,” according to council President Tom Smith.

 In March, AT&T filed a complaint in federal court, reported New Castle News, claiming that the city violated federal law. AT&T’s filing seeks to reverse the city’s denial of the application and grant approval of the conditional use permit for construction to begin. 

Should the tower project come to fruition, the school district stands to receive $24,000 from its contract with AT&T in the first year. After year one, the rental fee would increase by two percent each year, according to the News. District Solicitor Charles Sapienza is siding with AT&T, planning to speak with the school board about joining the lawsuit (with an intervention) on the company’s behalf. 

According to Attorney Lawrence Del Rossi, who filed the appeal on behalf of AT&T, the tower is necessary for public safety reasons, including 911 calls, and access to FirstNet. Del Rossi also included information in the filing points out that the George Washington School has hosted personal wireless facilities for T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless since 2014. AT&T’s chosen location at the school is the only place the tower can provide adequate coverage without service gaps, Del Rossi added.

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