On December 15, 2016, Verizon filed a “hybrid Article 78/Special Proceedings/Complaint/Declaratory Judgment action” with NY State to reverse the ZBA’s November 15, 2016, decision to deny their application to build and operate a cell tower on the grounds of the Faith United Church of Christ located at 1300 Maple Road.
In plain language, Verizon is asking the court to not only overturn the ZBA’s November 15 decision but to also, on the spot, grant it the permit it needs to build the tower. By way of comparison, our own Article 78 petition is only asking that the ZBA’s decision be overturned so that it can be subject to a rehearing at the Town level.
1300 Maple Case Index Number: 814200/2016
Presiding Judge Assigned: Hon. Mark J. Grisanti, State Supreme Court Justice
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Not only is this development deeply troubling for the distressed residents and homeowners near the 1300 Maple site who vehemently oppose a cell tower, it is a blatantly hypocritical move on Verizon’s part. For the Dellwood Road site, their documents stress how important it is for the court to respect the decisions of the ZBA. For the 1300 Maple Road site, they argue that the court must override the ZBA’s judgment with its own.
Verizon’s combative action also throws a harsh spotlight on the wireless company’s unprincipled and aggressive tactics in pursuing the proliferation of cell towers in Amherst. Verizon has and continues to intimidate residents and elected and appointed town officials by operating a cutthroat, “submit-to-their-cherry-picking and town-code-breaking demands or face litigation” scheme. They arrogantly and strategically file last-minute, incomplete, misleading, unverifiable, unsubstantiated, and inferior applications. They then have the hubris and the deep pockets to challenge any oversight, scrutiny, or negative decision made against them. Town and zoning board meetings are mere formalities to Verizon it seems.
Photo Credit: Alissa Shields