Verizon Victorious In Four-Year Litigation Against City

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UPDATE On Thursday of last week, an Appeals Court sided with Verizon Wireless in a lengthy case against the city of Peabody, MA, which denied a special use permit for a proposed 60-foot tall monopole, reported the Salem News. The court found that Verizon’s proposed location for the tower “is the only feasible option for filling the gaps in the coverage network.” 

The Salem News reported that the project dates back to 2014 when Verizon proposed the tower, three antennas, and equipment shed. Neighbors opposed the tower on grounds of safety and its proximity to homes. The City Council denied the permit, which the court ruled was a violation of the Telecommunications Act. 

The proceedings stretched over four years as the telecom and city attempted to work out an agreement first for an alternate location and then for a citywide network of small cells on Peabody Municipal Light Plant (PMLP) poles. Neither plan came to fruition, and Verizon took its case to the Land Court in 2018. 

The Land Court ruled in favor of Verizon in 2019, citing a violation of the Telecommunications Act. When the case moved onto the Appeals Court, the same verdict was reached. 

“In reaching our conclusion, we are also mindful of Verizon’s diligent attempts, over the course of 4 1/2 years, to find another feasible option,” Judge Joseph Ditkoff wrote. “Verizon considered multiple locations, such as an NSTAR utility pole, a church steeple, and the 38 Coolidge Avenue site, and also explored other options, such as small cell antennae and a DAS. It even considered some of those options multiple times.”

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