County on Cloud 1 Over Lawsuit

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Cloud 1 Services, LLC filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Madison County, Iowa, and its Board of Adjustment for denying its applications to construct cell towers within the county. Law Street reported that the complaint was filed in the Southern District of Iowa, and Cloud 1 has requested an expedited review of the action. In May, Cloud 1 submitted applications for Special Use Permits (the ‘Macksburg Application’ and the ‘Winterset Application’) to install two 300-foot towers to support AT&T services, including FirstNet on land zoned agricultural. Both properties were chosen based on coverage location and owners willing to enter into lease agreements.

In August, the Board of Adjustment held a public hearing. It determined that the applications were “consistent with the Madison County Comprehensive Plan,” and no effects were identified that “would result in any detrimental impact on adjoining or neighboring properties,” nor would it affect property value. However, at the end of the meeting, the Board unanimously denied both applications. 

According to Law Street, Cloud 1 is citing a violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under the Act, wireless owners and operators are tasked “to make available … a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service.” To accomplish providing wireless service to its customers, Cloud 1 must be allowed to have cell sites that overlap in a specific honeycomb grid pattern in an area. 

However, due to the Board’s denial of the applications, Cloud 1 listed several claims against the Act in its lawsuit. The first claim is that the Board did not “offer any reason supported by substantial evidence for the denial” of Cloud 1’s applications. The second is that a state or local government or instrumentality “shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services.” 

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