Rodriguez & Diaconis Broker Favorable Settlement for Philipstown in Cell Tower Standoff with Verizon Wireless
Counsel Adam Rodriguez and Partner John S. Diaconis have brokered a favorable settlement for the Town of Philipstown. The case involved a dispute over Verizon’s application to construct a 180-feet tall cell tower in the Town. Under the settlement, the tower will be 120 feet tall—60 feet shorter than Verizon’s first proposed facility. Verizon also waived its rights to raise the height of the tower.
Richard Shea, the Town Supervisor, applauded the deal, noting that “everything that’s been requested by the residents has been put in” the settlement.
In addition to the reduced tower height, the settlement also includes the following favorable terms:
- Verizon will provide $20,000 for property owners near the facility to install visual mitigation landscaping.
- Verizon will reimburse the Town for the expenses it incurred in reviewing Verizon’s permits applications in an amount of $21,260.70.
- Verizon will keep approximately 2,000 feet of access road clear and maintained.
- Local emergency services can maintain three antennas on the tower at no charge.
- A variety of measures to disguise the tower, including camouflaged design, an 8-foot cedar privacy fence, vegetative screening, and minimized light pollution.
“The Town’s rejection of the 180-feet tower was well founded,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “This settlement agreement recognizes that, mandates that the concerns of the residents of Philipstown will be addressed, and ensures that the tower will not be an eyesore.”
The Town originally denied Verizon’s request to build the tower because (1) Verizon had failed to prove that there was a sufficient gap in wireless coverage, (2) the tower would negatively impact the views in the community, and (3) the tower would diminish property values.
Verizon filed the lawsuit under the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 back in February 2018, seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief. Verizon argued that the Town violated state and federal law when it rejected the mobile giant’s application to build the 180-foot tower.
The case is New York SMSA Limited Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless et al. v. Town of Philipstown et al., case number 7:18-cv-01534, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Rodriguez focuses his practice in the areas of litigation, intellectual property and real estate. Previously, he was the Director of Real Estate for Westchester County, where he negotiated commercial real estate transactions valued at over $100 million. Prior to his appointment as Director of Real Estate, Mr. Rodriguez defended the County of Westchester in one of the highest-profile HUD enforcement actions in United States history. He has also served as a law clerk to two federal judges, and worked as a litigator at a large law firm in New York City.
Mr. Diaconis focuses his practice on the insurance and reinsurance industry. He also serves as an arbitrator and mediator in insurance and reinsurance arbitrations and mediations. Mr. Diaconis received his formal mediation training at Harvard Law School, Program of Instruction for Lawyers and at the Westchester Mediation Center, in conjunction with New York State Office of Court Administration. He is appointed to the Roster of Neutrals for New York Supreme Court, Commercial Divisions, for both New York and Westchester Counties.