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Cell phone co. fights to keep ‘unsightly’ towers

Did city overstep its authority in denying permits?

Sprint PCS offers wireless cellular phones to customers. To provide service, the company must install wireless facilities in its coverage areas. Representatives of Sprint submitted five applications to local building officials. Two were approved by the city. One was withdrawn, but two others were denied. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Under a city ordinance, the city council can deny permits for wireless antennas that are "unsightly." That was the basis for Sprint's two permit denials. Sprint took the dispute to court, arguing there are state laws on this issue that preempt local city ordinances denying permits based on aesthetic considerations. Sprint also argued that the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows a city to reject wireless facilities applications only if supported by substantial evidence other than being "unsightly." If you were the judge, would you allow Sprint to build its two wireless facilities? The judge said yes! "Because the city overstepped its regulatory ...

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