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Pennsylvania Municipalities Insurance: Township Faces Federal Court

Pennsylvania Municipalities Insurance: Township Faces Federal Court Pennsylvania Municipalities Insurance Township Faces Federal Court

In April, the Middle Paxton township’s zoning hearing board denied Verizon Wireless’s petition to build a large cell tower near Stony Creek. Under current township regulations, the construction of such towers is only permitted on hilltops in the Agricultural and Rural Residential District. The proposed tower would lie within in a floodplain that the municipality established as environmentally sensitive area and have been actively seeking to protect. The zoning board concluded that granting Verizon an exception and allowing the construction of the tower would be violating requirements designed reduce the environmental impact of new infrastructure in sensitive areas. Additionally, as part of their investigation the review board found that Verizon Wireless had not attempted to follow proper protocol and failed to explore options for affixing cellphone antennas to existing structures. The denial has since created legal complications for the municipality, who now face trial for possibly impeding business for the communication providers.

Verizon wireless recently filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Federal Court systems against Middle Paxton Township as the debate continues over a proposed cellphone tower. Legal representation for Verizon Wireless is alleging that by rejecting their proposal for the tower, Middle Paxton is violating their rights as protected under the Telecommunications Act. The legislation, which was designed to protect unfair government interference in the private market, states that lawmakers may not impose regulations which impede a communication company’s opportunity to compete within their market. Verizon officials attest that the townships’ restrictions are “unreasonably restrictive” and prohibit expansion necessary for business advancement. Representatives allege that the proposed tower is necessary to provide efficient and uninterrupted service for local customers, and to improve existing network service. The company hopes to reverse the board ruling and erect the new cell tower as planned.

Public officials and governing bodies are increasingly faced with legal opposition to their decisions and rulings. There are many cases in which a municipal servant can even face legal complication as a result of their professional conduct. Pennsylvania Municipalities Insurance is designed to help protect public officials from a variety of complications and liability exposures including actual of alleged negligence, breach of duty, mismanagement and other professional liabilities. At Dryfoos Group, our  public officials liability specialists  specialist can help assess the specific risks you face as a public figure and provide comprehensive solutions to help you avoid them. Let us help you protect your public image. Give us a call today at (888) 548-4953 for more information. 

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