Fate of Verizon Tower Project In Judge’s Hands

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UPDATE This week, a Pittsfield (MA) Judge held a hearing via telephone regarding a tower dispute, reported The Berkshire Eagle. The case, which Berkshire Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Wilkins is still reviewing, involves a 115-foot Verizon Wireless tower and the possibility that neighbors were not properly notified prior to its construction. 

In May, neighbors sought an injunction to halt the project, and a different judge ruled on the case. According to the Eagle, it now falls on Wilkins to decide whether to grant a request by the city and Verizon to rule that neighbors waited too long to appeal the Zoning Board’s decision reached in 2017.

The city also claims it sent notices to tower project abutters in 2017, but many neighbors say they never received the mail. Attorney Buffy Lord, representing the ZBA, said the city upheld legal requirements regarding notifying residents of the tower project. 

“Receipt of the notice is not required by statute,” Lord said. “If the Legislature had wanted hard evidence that municipalities had notified abutters of projects that need special permits, it would have put that into the law and required proof through receipts.” Lord also noted that the 20 days abutters initially had to appeal the project had long passed. 

The Eagle also reported that it ran a legal ad regarding the matter. Plus, at least one resident who lives near the project site attended a special permit hearing in 2017.

According to Attorney Jeffrey Scrimo, representing the neighbors, at least “twenty nearby Pittsfield households did not receive notice about the proposed tower.” He added that: “They first they learned of the project is when construction trucks arrived early this year.” The plaintiffs then brought suit against the city and Verizon during the pandemic. 

Wilkins said, “I would have to assume the city did not send notice to some people because so many people didn’t get it.” However, the case is still under review. 

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