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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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Just B. Cause May 23, 2012 at 10:17 PM
PERFECT JUST B. CAUSE! WELL SAID!
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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