Decade-Long, SCOTUS-Adjudicated Battle Continues Over 108-Ft. Tower


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UPDATE  A T-Mobile application to build a tower near a residential community is still in the throes of turmoil that have included an audience with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Roswell City Council met on Monday night to hear experts reason why or why not a tower is necessary in the area. The issue began in 2007, when T-Mobile first filed a request. The first option – to construct a 100-foot tower at a nearby fire station – was denied because it would not fill a coverage gap, says WAGA-TV.

When the neighborhood tower was rejected by the city council in 2010, T-Mobile filed legal action in district court against the city for not following proper procedures dictated by the Telecommunications Act, requiring local governments to state the reasons for denying such requests. Roswell said its reasons were contained in the meeting minutes but the court ruled against the city.

Eventually making its way up the ladder from District Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal jurists held that although Roswell had given proper notice of its reasons by making its meeting minutes available, the city should have provided those minutes when it notified T-Mobile of its decision. The 26-day delay gave T-Mobile only four days to seek a judicial review under federal law.  The issue was decided on a 6-3 vote with Justice Sotomayor writing the opinion.

The lower court is asking the city of Roswell to show whether or not there is a gap in T-Mobile’s coverage that the 108-foot tower would fill. T-Mobile counsel Scott Taylor was adamant the structure was necessary at the recent city council meeting. He said, “The 108-foot tower with the 100-foot rad center at the location requested is necessary to fill the gap.” The council will present its findings at a later date to the court, and a decision will be made then.

July 26, 2017      

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