Permits to be Revoked; Cell Tower Fight Rages On

The township held a meeting Tuesday evening at Richboro Middle School.

During a special Board of Supervisors meeting at , Northampton Township officials announced they will meet Wednesday morning to find a justifiable cause to revoke the permit that allows American Tower Corporation to install pole-based distributed antenna systems and nearly 40 miles of fiber optic cables across the township. Revoking the permits will effectively cause ATC crews to stop working in the township.

The measure, which the board unanimously approved, was first introduced by current supervisor and former chairman George Komelasky. Aside from revoking the permits, it also lets township officials pursue “any other appropriate legal action. ” That action could include a moratorium on work, Township Solicitor Michael Savona said at the meeting.

When the measure was approved, most of the more than 150 people who filled the middle school’s auditorium broke into applause and cheers.

However, the approval of Tuesday evening’s measure could possibly make the township liable for millions if ATC sues them for revoking the permits and Northampton loses, Savona told Frank Rothermel, chairman of the board. Savona predicted, ATC will likely claim they lost a substantial amount of money due to fact the permits were revoked.

The company could also claim pulling the permits is in contempt of the January ruling by Judge Wallace Bateman, Savona added. In the ruling, Bateman said ATC was allowed to work in Northampton because they received a certificate of approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and were operating within the bounds of federal law.

The township will be working with a Pittsburgh-based telecommunications lawyer, Daniel Cohen, on the issue.

Supervisor Eileen Silver said she wanted the permits pulled until the issue with the towers could be solved.

“I want something done now,” Silver said at the meeting just minutes before Komelasky proposed the measure that would pull the permits.

Visibly angry residents took the board to task on why they weren’t given more of a heads-up about the poles when they were first proposed and the township’s legal fight with ATC.

During a public comment portion of the meeting, one resident displayed two glossy brochures from the township and its waste hauler that explained the new single-stream recycling process and the reduction in trash pick-up. The resident asked why something like that could not have been sent to residents to explain the pole situation.

Rothermel promised the township would keep residents informed on the tower issue using the township website.

State Representative Scott Petri told the crowd that he was working to see what could be done in the future to stop this issue from occurring again in Northampton.

“Let’s not let this happen again,” the representative said.

ATC, who was invited but did not sent a representative to the meeting, appears to not “give a darn,” according to Petri. He added that companies like ATC must not care about the bad publicity.

Since a , and collected more than 2,000 petition signatures asking ATC to stop installing the poles, Holland resident Ed Bendzlowicz told the board. He added that the re-election of board members hinged on the handling of the tower issue.

“Remember November,” Bendzlowicz said as he finished his comments to the board.


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Don George May 18, 2012 at 07:20 PM
At least Supervisor Cunningham, unlike others, is posting under his real name. Now, maybe he should introduce a motion seeking to recoup all costs from the Solicitor since the Board has apparently received "bad advice" and took action based on that advice. What say you Jim?
James T. Cunningham May 18, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I agree Don. I think that the counsel from our previous firm was way over their head on this.
James T. Cunningham May 18, 2012 at 08:50 PM
And Vincent, I think it's great you're speaking to the residents about this matter but I hope you're disclosing your family's interest in the firm representing ATC. In the interest of fairness and honesty after all.
Beacon Hill May 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Where has Lou Hersch been at the meetings? Did he pass away?
RichboroProud May 19, 2012 at 02:39 AM
From a sitting supervisor that has nothing to offer other then a classless remark. Nice job Jim...
GlenMeadow May 19, 2012 at 02:43 AM
From a sitting supervisor that has nothing to offer other then a classless remark. Nice job Jim...
James T. Cunningham May 19, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Sorry you feel that way Mrs. Deon but just call it like it is.
WorkTogetherForNorthampton May 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Mr Cunningham I wish you would take this subject matter seriously. Your comments are exactly why we are in this position. Stop bashing for goodness sake and work on what's good for the township and it's residents. Isn 't that why you ran for office?
Hillcrestshire May 22, 2012 at 01:27 AM
They are still installing poles. Also, take a look at Upper Holland and Holland Rds, Rock Way and Middle Holland Rd, and Middle Holland and Buck Rds! There are nodes there, and they look UGLY! Totally takes away from the look of the township! The poles are either across the street from existing ones and stand by themselves, or set back several feet from existing ones. As a result, the poles are not even running with the same pattern as the existing poles. They look out of place and UGLY!! Come on, how hard is it to use common sense and decency, and place the nodes ON existing poles, and just run the wire above or below ground, depending where the electric already is in each neighborhood? All of the neighborhoods in Northampton was obviously planned very well around - then progressed away from - above ground utilities. Now, watch how these poles will ruin that. Poles scattered around with no rhyme or reason, except to benefit ATC (who doesn't live there) and to justify government agencies' budget. We get hosed. With this hopscotch installation, it's like the poor frontage along Street Rd in some areas (buildings with a 1000 different designs and architecture, some still 60s style, random Panera, some set back, some right against the road, etc) The FCC and PUC created a monopoly for themselves with these "laws." What a racket. We will be on the road to lower property values and just a place people pass through to get somewhere nicer - like what we use to be.
Hillcrestshire May 22, 2012 at 01:36 AM
blaine mcdonaghue May 22, 2012 at 01:36 PM
nice job cunningham you and the rest of your stupidvisers looked like a bunch of jackasses sitting up there.. i for one didnt fall for the komo / silverman stunt that was premeditated days in advance. they are trying to be the heros in all this what a joke. your to many facelift's partner was also very helpful. the people will ulitimately handle and rectify this situation no matter what it takes. even if we have to hold classes on which pole wires to cut. what good is a non-functioning system or one that requires a repairman everyday.. i also dont remember having a say in my trash pickup. i feel like i am living in the city but with extrordinary taxes. i even checked on getting a private company to pick it up but was told i needed all kinds of permits etc. the next administration is going to have fun correcting the gaffs that were put in place. i for one would like to see common sense citizens elected that are willing to listen to the people that they represent..
Tim May 22, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Hillcrestshire: Your incessant ranting and complaining is ridiculous. Putting antennas along major roads (e.g. all of the "XXX Holland" roads) is a completely acceptable way to go. It is ONLY the 12 poles within the neighborhoods that we should be fighting. Stay focused and stop being a whining complainer.
Vincent J. Deon May 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I am a private citizen Supervisor Cunningham. The ATC decision should have been fought. Your constant mean spirited lies and canards never surprise me. Stay dry Wednesday night - focus on the real issue - you did not do your homework concerning ATC and embarrassed Northampton Townships standing in the county and the Commonwealth. And remember -Emergency meetings are defined as those called for the purpose of dealing with a real or potential emergency involving a clear and present danger to life or property. Way to go! Spending more money on your incompetence. Why is your EMERGENCY Meeting not televised? EMERGENCY MEETING- Lawyers $ 2,500 Videographer $ 3,000 OT/ Comp $ 500 and counting - NOT TELEVISING THE MEETING - Priceless!! VJD 215 603 5955
Hillcrestshire May 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I agree, Blaine. Also, in particular, look at the node at Upper Holland and Middle Holland Rds (NW corner). Obviously, when you look at the intersection, care and thought was put into the grass buffer between the housing development and the corner with existing poles. The buffer appropriately ties in the new development, and gives it an aesthetic look which is positive, when you take into account the newer homes. The node currently there is like the neighbor who puts a satellite dish on the front exterior of their home. By itself, isolated, but still an eyesore. With one dish there, more will likely follow (others already nearby). The character of the area then changes, and negatively - same result with the nodes/poles. At Upper and Holland Rds, it looks like kids illegally installed a pole overnight, with how poorly and haphazard it was placed there - undermines every ounce of planning already taken there. Speaking of trash, I got mine picked up at 12:30PM yesterday - that's EXACTLY like the city. I always had my trash gone no later than 8:00AM at the LATEST! Now, more trash out front takes longer for them to make their rounds. More trash also sitting on the street, and more cans being dragged along grass, sidewalks, and streets to truck. On top of that, more sitting inside and smelling on our properties. The township felt nice and cleaner with twice a week. Nice job supervisors -- no public input AGAIN - just like the city.
Don George May 22, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Jim, Savona is your solicitor and has been advising the Board since his appointment on 03JAN2012. The BO'S acted, or more accurately, didn't act to appeal based on his advise. Time will tell whether he I'll advised the Board or not. If he did so, then you'll need to take appropriate action. Incidently, I've recently heard that you are finally domiciled back in Northampton Twp.. Welcome back.
Fred Pisco May 22, 2012 at 08:33 PM
The problem remains simple. The chairman and his talking heads were spending too much time bashing the formal leadership, hiring their own cronies, replacing with suspect individuals and NOT working for the good of ALL township citizens. We’re on our own guys… Just remember this on election day and don’t have a short memory.
Hillcrestshire May 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Tim, My issue is not at all the idea putting them on the main roads, but definitely the manner in which they are installing them on main roads. Time will tell if installing these poles outside the pattern which existing poles stand will have a negative impact. I believe it will. It's an eyesore already - just a difference opinion. I agree with you about the 12. I state below to keep the poles out of the neighborhoods.
Don George May 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Actually, by his own admissions, the Chairman has been busy usurping the role of the Township Manager, doing the Manager's duties, directing videos, determining that "emergency" meetings are only needed if they serve his personal or political agenda, and apparently using taxpayer funded resources for personal gain. "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?"
Don George May 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM
@Hillcrestshire et al. According to an email circulated by Herr Rothermel on 07NOV2011, he "Jim and Kim" are going to work hard to change the way Supervisors are elected. They want it to be like the Ward Systems of Philly and Chicago... so get used to "the City syndrome"... we're just seeing the beginning. Ask Francis Rothermel for a copy of his email... you might find it enlightening. Then again, he may be too busy to respond... you know, bashing others, attacking the Municipal Authority (which he's admitted on camera he has no idea what it is), directing videos, or using taxpayer-funded resources for personal gain. Heck, you can't possibly have expected him, Cunningham or Rose to have seen the necessesity of informing residents about ATC-DAS... it was more important to stage political theatre on April 9th to discuss on-going litigation involving the former Township Manager who has previously made FULL RESTITUTION to the Township. WAKE UP NORTHAMPTON... after the last 5 years, it's only going to get worse. REMEMBER NEXT NOVEMBER!!
Richboro Neighbor May 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM
when the R's were in the majority, they hired their own inept political hack lawyer and now that the D's are in the majority, they have hired their own inept political hack lawyer. I guess we residents have to accept that fact and the waste of money we are spending on this poor legal advice. We're screwed again! What is obvious is that when an important legal issue comes up (like these ATC cell poles)...we have to have a real quality attorney sort of "on standby" to represent us. We shouldn't expect these political hack appointees to know what they're doing and should just bypass their inept advice and go directly to an attorney who might have some idea what's actually happening. How embarassing it must have been for Mr. Savona to have to sit there at the emergency meeting beside the other Pittsburgh attorney who had to be called in to represent the Township! Richboro Neighbor
Don George May 23, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Partially true, but I will "defend" Savona and predecessors: they are generalists and when there are specialty needs, it is common practice to secure Counsel who specialises in that particlar need. For example, certain land development issues, labour negotiations, Utility issues, etc. We do the same thing in the private sector, get the "best" help we can afford when there is a unique demand. The bigger issue is that there are numerous "deals" cut by Savona under the apparent direction of Herr Rothermel and without inclusion of the Board as a whole and without Public Disclosure. That's alarming... suggest you look into it.
Jenna Ekdahl May 23, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Please refrain from using profanity or we will be forced to remove your comments.
Richboro Neighbor May 23, 2012 at 01:42 PM
you can "defend" Savona and his predecessors if you want to. I was not "attacking" them...simply stating the obvious fact that when we need a quality attorney who knows what he's doing...we better have someone on "standby". We should all accept that fact. Several of the citizens who spoke at the emergency hearing gave us all a higher level of legal advice than we had gotten from Savona and his predecessors. Richboro Neighbor
Richboro Neighbor May 23, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Just B. Cause May 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Richboro Neighbor makes a lot of sense. Both of them.
Just B. Cause May 23, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Living the Bucks Life May 24, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Hillcrestshire. Stop moaning about changes in trash pickup schedule. That too is a done deal. With one pickup its obvious pickup times will change. Get off your high horse. Actually I know a lot of people that much prefer once a week. Now we only have to have cans out littering the neighborhoods 2 times a week except for our piggish neighbors that never bring their cans in. Lets see, do I get you right, you rather have trash cans out 6 days a week instead of 4 (the night before and the actual trash day and yard waste pickup). You're right, that doesn't make the township look disgusting. I like looking at trash cans too, NOT! Only the new cell poles are ugly. Take a ride around over the next week. Let us know how many trash cans you see out on the street days after pickup. It should be very obvious since they should only be out for 1 day. I bet you see a lot more cans than you do poles. You gave me an idea. I think I'll complain to the Feds. The USPS switched my carrier and my mail used to get delivered by 10am, now I have to wait till 12:30. OMG...what is one to do? Let's hold a special meting. You obviously don't like change and can't handle change.
Don George May 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM
We can't hold a special meeting on this! It serves no political purpose for Herr Rothermel and his minions! lol
Hillcrestshire May 25, 2012 at 02:57 AM
When I spoke of trash pickup, I referred directly to the comment made about trash (and poles) above mine. Also, trash cans are temporary while on the street and promote clean and sanitary conditions. The removal of trash contributes positively to the quality of life in Northampton. The poles are permanent, or at the very minimum, they remain in their location/position while being used for years. We can debate how long it takes for someone to take their can inside or how many days we place trash outside, but trash cans are EMPTIED and put away. I just think its reasonable to solicit public comment regarding trash, as it is necessity for health and cleanliness. Cell phone poles/towers in their proposed locations, in my opinion, do not reach that threshold. USPS is not a practical comparison, because once something becomes as mismanaged as the USPS, high costs with decreased service becomes the norm. I'm sure there are many residents who prefer two-day pick-up also and would like that option. Maybe, in the future, we can have an option for # of days, the same option half or more of the entire county already has.
Hillcrestshire May 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM
I meant poles/towers don't meet the threshold, in the sense their impact is not nearly as positive as an additional day of trash pick-up. Obviously, public comment was necessary with the poles! WIth the second day option as we had, people who like one day can refrain from leaving trash out one of the days.


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