East Hampton approved an agreement with AT&T to place antennas atop a wind turbine tower, but only after the carrier sued. Now, the New York town’s lead attorney is calling for changes to the town’s zoning code, reported The Independent. In 2017, the East Hampton Town Planning Board denied AT&T’s site plan application to put up an antenna. So, the carrier sued the town because the, “denial was in violation of federal law,” per their attorney.
The federal magistrate in the case, Chief Judge Dora Irizarry, stated in her written order resolving the lawsuit that AT&T was acting: “to remedy a substantial gap in personal wireless services.” This ruling aligns with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and the judge added that AT&T could not be prohibited from providing, “seamless, ubiquitous, and reliable personal wireless services.”
Due to this lawsuit, East Hampton’s town lead attorney, John Jilnicki, says the town code that concerns antennas, needs an overhaul. “Our cellular code was written a long time ago,” Jilnicki said. “It needs some updating. Because when you get into federal court on these issues, it is a huge part of the claim that there is a coverage gap.”
Currently, Jilnicki added, the zoning code doesn’t give a lot of focus on coverage gaps. “We look at just the impact of putting that structure there. Coverage gaps are something we have to build into our process.”
November 14, 2019
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