Court Ruling Favors Verizon Over Clifton Park

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To build or not to build a tower, was a question offered by a New York hamlet that has been settled by the U.S. District Court Northern District of New York, according to the Times Union.  The Court ruled the borough of Clifton Park must, “immediately issue all approvals and permits necessary to allow [Verizon] to construct and operate its proposed communication facility.” The decision is largely based on Verizon successfully demonstrating a coverage gap that would be corrected by the new tower.

Phil Barrett, the Clifton Park Supervisor, acknowledged the need for better cell service, but expressed his frustrations about the outcome. The tower project has been on the drawing board since 2016, with the town and the telecom provider unable to agree on a location. During the long process, the town continued to reject Verizon’s selection of the Moe Road site as the best option, and Verizon declined to entertain other site suggestions, according to the Times Union.

“I think it was important to attempt to proceed with a cooperative process,” Barrett said. “Verizon was not interested in pursuing that course. They sued us.”

Once constructed, the town’s new cell tower will be a 104-foot monopole disguised as a tree. Barrett commented on the difficulty the town faced in taking on Verizon. “They had a land lease in place and came forward with approvals,” Barrett said. “They didn’t want to consider any alternatives once they had the land.” The Times Union also quoted Barrett as conceding that, “federal regulations afford telecommunications companies a great deal of flexibility if they can prove there is a gap in their system.”  

March 5, 2019

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