UPDATE Amid a lawsuit filed by Bay Communications III, LLC, the Rockland (ME) Council accepted the ruling by a federal court ordering the Planning Board to grant a tower permit. In February, the suit was filed by Bay Communications after the Planning Board voted against a 120-foot tower project planned for an empty lot next to a Pizza Hut to fix a coverage gap. According to the Courier-Gazette, many residents opposed the tower, saying it would reduce property values, be an aesthetic nightmare, and pose health risks.
The Gazette reported that the Council hired two different lawyers who both said the case was “a losing battle” for the city. “This battle in court is not winnable for the City of Rockland…This Council is not willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, taxpayer dollars, going to the bitter end with a lawsuit that we have been told is ill-advised,” the Council stated.
In the lawsuit, Bay Communications’ lawyers argued that federal law calls for national policy to “make available, so far as possible, to all people of the United States, without discrimination… a rapid, efficient, nationwide and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of national defense, [and] for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications.”
In September 2019, Bay Communications submitted its plan for a six-foot chain-link fence with barbed wire around the base of the 120-foot tower and a 50-by-50-foot stone tower pad. According to the Council, the City was not paid for the settlement, and Bay Communications has yet to apply for the building permit.