It’s hard to say no when someone comes to you with a plan to make your quality of life better, in this case your wireless capacity. But after months of review and listening to the community point out all the detriments to quality of life that Crown Castle’s plan to install node-bearing equipment in the public right-of-way posed, the City of Rye turned down the proposal.
On May 12, Crown Castle filed suit, alleging breach of the Federal Telecommunications Act.
While the news may have sent shock waves through the residential community, which hoped that the matter had been put to rest, Rye’s Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson said she was not surprised. “I expected the suit on the day it was filed,” she said in a phone interview this week.
The City’s response papers are due May 26. Crown Castle has until June 6 to comment. The City Council’s next regular meeting is June 7.
When asked for her opinion on whether the court is likely to decide for the telecommunications industry or the community in Rye’s case, Wilson pointed to decisions for the former in Greenburgh, and the latter in Pelham.
A number of Rye residents in opposition to Crown Castle’s plan on behalf of Verizon to add 64 nodes throughout the city have pointed to what did and didn’t happen in Scarsdale. “Crown Castle started installing nodes without notification, and village officials figured out its rights and responsibilities to residents,” said Josh Cohn.
Meanwhile, Rye is in the process of revising its local telecommunications law, which it is hoped will dissuade any and all wireless providers from proposing cell sites next or near to residential properties.
— Robin Jovanovich