AT&T filed a federal lawsuit against the town of East Hampton over the denial of a two-year-old application to place nine cellular antennas on an existing 136-foot wind turbine, reported 27east.com.
According to AT&T attorney Andrew B. Joseph, the town has violated federal law that prohibits a municipality from obstructing the delivery of cellular service. “A substantial number of users of personal wireless services are unable to rely on their ability to use their personal wireless devices to make and maintain a connection of reliable quality,” said Joseph. This includes 911 emergency calls.
The Town Planning Board denied the application in December, citing concerns including the aesthetic impact and setting a precedent that would encourage towers to be built on farms.
However, attorneys for AT&T argued that putting the antennas on the tower, which sits nearly 600 feet back from the street, would have “essentially zero visual impact” and would meet town code recommendations for antennas to be placed on existing structures. Additionally, when the town approved the placement of the wind turbine tower, it declared that the tower “would not adversely affect the natural environment or character of the community.”
According to Planning Board member Ian Calder-Piedmonte, “The idea that adding these not-even-a-foot-wide and barely half-a-foot-deep antennas on this existing tower is going to cause significant impacts to aesthetic resources … I can’t see it.”