Home Courts Croton-on-Hudson resident sues Verizon over proposed wireless tower

Croton-on-Hudson resident sues Verizon over proposed wireless tower

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When Verizon Wireless presented plans for building a telecommunications tower in Cortlandt last year it omitted information about nearby towers, a lawsuit claims.

Verizon compared its plans for a tower at the Danish Home for the Aged in Croton-on-Hudson to a shorter structure that would have given it less coverage.

“Verizon had perpetrated a fraud,” said Nancy Scherer, who lives on Quaker Ridge Road near the Danish Home, and the zoning board of appeals “refused to recognize that it had been euchered.”

She sued Verizon, the zoning board and the Danish Home last month in Westchester Supreme Court.

wireless tower verizon cell towerScherer had asked the zoning board for a new hearing to reconsider approvals it had granted to Verizon to install a 140-foot pole on ground leased from the Danish Home. The board denied her request on Aug. 16.

This is not the first time she has sued to stop Verizon. She challenged the town and the company on procedural grounds in March. That case is pending.

The new lawsuit is based on evidence that she and her husband, M. William Scherer, a lawyer, say they discovered after the first lawsuit was filed.

They cite a Cortlandt policy that encourages telecommunications companies to share towers, rather than build new towers, to minimize aesthetic considerations.

When a company applies for a special permit to build a tower, it must demonstrate efforts to find space it can share on existing structures. It must submit a comprehensive report that identifies existing towers within four miles of the proposed site.

Verizon compared its plans to Con Edison electrical transmission tower F-19 near the Danish Home. But that tower is built on lower ground, the lawsuit states, and the top is 27 feet below the top elevation of the proposed Danish Home tower.

The zoning board concluded that there were no suitable existing sites for sharing space, according to the lawsuit, and that a shorter tower would not give Verizon the wireless coverage it needs.

But Verizon failed to disclose two Con Edison towers that are higher than the proposed tower, according to the lawsuit.

Tower F-18, for instance, is about 3,000 feet from the Danish Home site, and in 1999 the town had issued a building permit to allow Sprint to install antennae on it.

The top of F-18 is 60 feet higher than the proposed tower.

Disclosing F-18, the lawsuit states, would have undermined Verizon’s claims that Con Edison towers are unsuitable.

Scherer charges that the zoning board abused its discretion by refusing to allow a new hearing on Verizon’s project. She is asking the court to annul the approvals that the town granted for the proposed tower.

Tom Wood, Cortlandt town attorney, and Erik Andersen, administrator of the Danish Home, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Verizon attorney Michael Sheridan did not respond to a voicemail message, but in his answer to the first Scherer lawsuit he denied all allegations.

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