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Lawsuit filed over cellphone tower zoning issue

For some Florida businesses and homeowners, the construction of new projects like cellphone towers can lead to disputes over land use. One Florida-based mobile tower development company is appealing in Pennsylvania county court against the denial of an exception to construct a tower. Vertical Bridge Development LLC had sought an exception from the zoning hearing board in Doylestown to build a 120-foot mobile phone tower. While zoning board members expressed opposition to the aesthetics of the project, the company said that the tower was necessary to improve local wireless coverage.

Vertical Bridge wants the court to find that it is entitled to a special exemption from zoning rules that would allow it to construct the tower on property it leases. The tower is constructed in a manner resembling a tree, with antennas located at 95 feet and 105 feet that would aid in transmitting wireless signals for major cellphone companies. In addition, the company wants to tear down an unoccupied home currently located on the site. This would enable it to meet a regulation that only commercial property can share space with a mobile phone tower.

However, the zoning board voted against the exemption in December 2018 after four hearings at which a number of local residents spoke out against the project. Local residents said that they did not have problems with wireless service, and the board said that the company is 971 square feet short of the minimum size that its property should be to classify it as commercial.

Land use disputes can be costly and long-lasting with a significant impact on both business profits as well as local residents' well-being. Building owners and developers who need zoning assistance may wish to consult with a land use attorney about how they can best pursue the variances they need to win approval for their projects.

Source: The Intelligencer, "'Tree-like' cell tower proposed in Doylestown Township subject of zoning appeal", Thomas Friestad, 02/08/2019

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