Park County Responds To Cell Tower Lawsuit
Written by Mac Watson on April 5, 2023
On March 9th, Horizon Tower LLC sued Park County, asking that a U.S. District Court for Wyoming to give them a special-use permit so they could build the structure.
The County has answered the lawsuit saying it has every right to deny the building of a cell phone tower in Wapiti because several residents were concerned about the tower’s prospective impact on property values, people’s health and changing the landscape.
The Park County Commissioners have weighed in, expressing their solidarity in denying the permit because they say the county has the right to listen to the people of the county in honoring citizens’ concerns and make their decision based on their input.
Horizon’s lawsuit contends that the county violated The Federal Communications Act by denying the permit to build the tower. Horizon says the 195-foot tower is necessary to solve a “dead zone” issue in cellular service in the area. In the legal complaint, Verizon Wireless has also asked Horizon to build the tower to give its customers better cell service since there is a “significant gap” in coverage in the Wapiti area extending into Yellowstone National Park.
Park County says they’ve done nothing wrong in denying the permit for the tower, and they have the right to do so. The County is also saying that denying the permit doesn’t violate the Act, calling Horizon’s claims a “legal conclusion” instead of a fact to support the company’s claims.
Horizon says that the proposed site is the only place they can erect the tower because there are not alternative locations for the building site in order to fix the cellular service gap. Park County responded to that claim as being false as well.
The tower company claims that people who are not in favor of building the communications site were, “vague and generalized concerns regarding the property values of surrounding lands, the obstruction of certain views and aesthetic concerns, and fears of alleged potential health effects of RF (radio-frequency) emissions from the Tower.” The County rebutted those claims saying they were not vague nor were they generalized but rather had specific concerns that were laid out at Commissioners meetings.