After suing the City of Lakeland, FL for denying a cell tower application, North American Towers LLC was dealt a blow when the court sided with local citizens, reports The Ledger. The verdict was handed down by the Hon. Virginia Maria Covington, Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Tampa judge ruled that Lakeland presented sufficient evidence to support the denial.
The empty lot on Ariana Street in the Dixieland section of town had not attracted any prospective buyers prior to interest expressed by North American Towers, noted a Lakeland city official. However, upon further consideration, Lakeland decided that the land could be a potential site for residential use and was not receptive to changing the zoning from multi-family to limited use. Although there are no known plans for the site, the multi-family label would bar the construction of a cell tower at that site.
The Judge supported Lakeland’s denial of the 150-foot proposed cell tower, agreeing that both zoning and aesthetic concerns had merit, according to The Ledger. Artists’ renderings illustrate that from some vantage points, a monopole would be visible above the tree line.
As the decision states, “Because the Court has found that the City relied on valid reasons, in writing, and supported by substantial evidence, in denying North American’s applications to construct a cell tower on the Houghton Property, the City’s Motion is granted.”