Verizon Sues Muttontown Over Antennas

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) – Verizon Wireless has sued Muttontown to force the village to let the phone company put wireless antennas in a church steeple. Verizon says the village has kept it “in limbo” for 3 years, though federal law requires the village to rule on Verizon’s application within 90 days.

     In its federal complaint, Verizon claims the antennas would be “invisible” to the public, have “no aesthetic impact” and “will not involve the construction of any new towers and poles.”
Verizon says the Brookville Reformed Church “welcomed” it, but the Muttontown Village Board of Trustees has refused to grant or deny its application for 3 years.
     “The nation’s wireless infrastructure has become a critical communications pathway used to make 911 calls, extensively employed by public safety and first responders, and increasingly serving as a replacement for traditional wire line phones altogether,” Verizon says in its complaint.
     It adds that Congress and the FCC “have emphasized the importance of a seamless nationwide wireless network and the need to allow wireless carriers to move quickly to fill gaps in their coverage.”
     Verizon says it searched for a location to fill its gap in the Muttontown area “while respecting the character of the neighborhood” and decided on Brookville Reformed Church. The church “welcomed” it and leased the land to install the facility, Verizon says.
     Verizon claims it proposed an “unobtrusive” design of antennas in the steeple, communication equipment in the basement and two air-conditioning units outside the church “designed to harmonize” with its existing units.
     Verizon seeks declaratory judgment granting it approvals and permits.
     It is represented by Richard S. Keenan with the Amato Law Group.

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