Township, ATC to Meet in Court
A hearing will be held in Bucks County Court in Doylestown, Courtroom 1.
The township's fight with American Tower Corporation (ATC) continues in county court today. Northampton's Board of Supervisors and representatives from ATC will meet at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 1 at the Bucks County Court House, located at 55 E Court St., in Doylestown.
In May, the township pulled ATC’s work permit and the company immediately stopped installing 60 small cell towers on residential properties throughout Northampton. But just days after the permit was revoked, ATC filed a motion in Bucks County Court in Doylestown stating that Judge Wallace Bateman find Northampton in contempt of the previous legal ruling in which the township lost.
ATC requested that the court issues a peremptory judgment allowing its crews to resume work on the pole and fiber optic cable installation, which is more than halfway complete, as reported in an earlier article by reporter Tom Sofield. Representatives from ATC said because the company has been approved as a public utility, it should be able to continue to work in the public right-of-way.
The January ruling by Bateman said ATC was allowed to work in Northampton because they received approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and were operating within the bounds of federal law.
At a meeting on May 15, Township Solicitor Michael Savona said that being a public utility doesn’t exempt a company from every township regulation, referring to the fact that ATC has violated several township codes over the course of the project. Additionally, Savona said the township's position is slightly different than it was during the 2011 legal battle with ATC.
The township has also filed papers, requesting a judge rule that the company's Distributed Antenna System units mounted on poles should be classified as cell towers. In Northampton, an ordinance states that cell towers can not be installed within 300 feet of a residence.
Check back to Northampton Patch as we continue to follow the story.