The Portland, Maine community of Rockland is embroiled in a legal battle with Bay Communications LLC over a 120-foot cell tower rejected by its Planning Board in February.
Bay Communications filed a lawsuit with Portland’s U.S. District Court on March 17, citing violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The wireless communications infrastructure provider seeks to have the tower erected on a commercially zoned lot next to a Pizza Hut.
According to The Knox Village Soup, attorneys representing Rockland filed a response last week arguing the complaint ‘fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.’ Attorneys Dawn Harmon and James Katsiaficas also said they were without knowledge or information as to the truth of the allegation.
Owners of the proposed site property confirmed the lot has been vacant for at least 20 years. Bay Communications’ plan, submitted last September, proposes a 50 x 50 concrete pad with a six-foot chain-link fence enclosing the tower and equipment. The company’s lawsuit includes the results of a radio frequency propagation study, confirming a gap in wireless coverage and states that an additional cell site will be needed in Rockland to resolve the service gap.
Commenting on The Village Soup’s report of the lawsuit, Ananur Forma expressed concern the tower would have a negative impact on property values and cause potential health risks. “Cell companies never did any research regarding our health. They just do as they please not caring about the will of the people,” said Forma. “This is what dictatorship countries do, plow over the will of the people. Cell tower companies have become our dictators and FCC backs them up.”
Both parties have until November to file motions for a trial tentatively scheduled for February 1, 2021.