Case Law Update – Making the Case for a Cell Tower

Just before Christmas the N.C. Court of Appeals issued an opinion that illustrates the necessity of presenting facts to support your case when the board is considering a special or conditional use permit.  Opinions, speculations, conjectures and surmises, the Court properly reminds us, are not evidence. In Blair Investments, LLC v. Roanoke Rapids, the city […]

Cell Towers, Elections, Land Lines and Crystal Balls

            Swing state voters in 2012 – including the good people of North Carolina – got a taste of what it’s like to live in Iowa and New Hampshire every four years, and for most folks in my generation it wasn’t fun.  You see, folks my age still use land lines to make phone calls […]

Morrisville Tower Case Revisited

            Law is not unlike archery.  You can hit the bullseye, the third ring, or miss the target altogether.  In my recent post on the Morrisville cell tower case (American Tower v. Town of Morrisville) I thought I had hit the bullseye.              Subsequently, comments from and discussion with members of the land use bar […]

Case Law Update – Cell Towers, SUPs and Impossible Standards

            A recent Court of Appeals opinion, American Towers v. Town of Morrisville, simultaneously provides a good road map for interpreting evidence in quasi-judicial proceedings, shows how utterly maddening it can be to practice before local government boards, and illustrates how difficult-to-meet standards can be made impossible-to-meet when interpreted by boards and courts.              Before […]

Land Use, Jules Verne and Marty McFly

             In the final scene of the movie Back to the Future III, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) stands on the train tracks as Doc Brown and his wife Clara arrive on a locomotive from 1884 fitted with folding wings and an engine from an unknown but distant future.  As they prepare to return to […]

Is it a Cell Tower or a Beacon of Democracy?

            For more than 15 years I’ve advocated for various carriers and cell tower companies so that their customers can text their boyfriends, call their offices or surf the internet.  Until now, however, I never appreciated what a cellular infrastructure does for democracy.              In today’s New York Times, researchers with Rand Corporation editorialize (“Can […]

How Tall is a Cell Tower?

            It depends.              Measured height is a constant.  A 120’ telecommunications tower, as measured from its base to its top, is always 120’ tall.              But the relevant issue presented to elected officials, neighbors and planners is not how tall the tower is measured to be but how tall the tower is perceived to […]

The Telecommunications Explosion

            This morning I attended the quarterly meeting of the Carolina Wireless Association in Charlotte.  Rob Dawson, Vice-President of TESSCO Technologies, gave a fast-paced presentation on the impact of wireless communication on the existing telecommunications infrastructure.  The following bullet points are from my notes taken during Mr. Dawson’s presentation: The US population is 300 million […]

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