Verizon Settlement 2022

June 13, 2022

Overview and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The Town Board has been asked questions about why it is in settlement negotiations and what settling a lawsuit means for future wireless facilities in town. People have asked why we won’t oppose all wireless projects or why alternatives aren’t on the table in this case. Click here for our best effort at describing where we are and answering the questions.

The Town Board is dealing with the huge challenge of settling a lawsuit with Verizon and there is no possible outcome that will not impact nearby homes and sight lines. Federal communications law is not on our side after 5 years of trying to find alternatives without success. We know there are gaps in coverage and there will be a tower built at the end of this. We are working to ensure that it is less intrusive than what we will get if we continue to spend taxpayer money and then lose the lawsuit. We are also simultaneously working to figure out other locations to fill other gaps in coverage so that the Town is in a better position going forward.

The Town Board continues to review records and issues and consider the proposed settlement with Verizon to accept a wireless facility at 68 Stone Hill Road.  The Board will begin the review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act at a meeting on June 14, beginning at 6pm.

This settlement comes after a 5 year effort to address Verizon applications and find alternatives to fill gaps in coverage. The Town is in the unfortunate position after this effort to be embroiled in a lawsuit with Verizon after alternatives have been rejected. We believe settlement for the lesser intrusive option is in the best interest of the town but we need to review this option and hear public comment to make that determination.

More info

After the Planning Board rejected Verizon’s applications at Stone Hill and Hickory Lane and argued that tower sites in and around Indian Hill Park would be more effective and less intrusive, Verizon rejected the Town’s proposed alternatives and sued in Federal Court to try to get a judgement allowing them to construct a wireless facility at either the Hickory Lane or Stone Hill Road sites. The Federal Telecommunications Act gives municipalities very little leeway when it comes to rejecting cell tower applications, and the outcome of protracted and expensive litigation is uncertain. The Town Board has therefore agreed to consider this settlement. While the Planning Board rejected the Stone Hill Road application, the Town Board is willing to consider that with additional landscaping and further analysis of the original plan, a facility on Stone Hill Road will fill a gap in coverage and will be less intrusive than a cell tower at 91 Hickory Lane.

It seems pertinent to note that a recent survey shows that a majority of Bedford residents want to see improved cell service in the town. This is a matter of public and personal safety as well as convenience. But while the need for better cell service is an easy call, the specific locations of towers are not: the appropriate sites for wireless facilities in the Town to remedy the acknowledged gaps in coverage have been contemplated, reviewed, and debated for over four years. The Town’s goal is always to seek out the least intrusive, least environmentally impactful sites possible for these facilities, even while we acknowledge the ever-growing importance of wireless communications in all our lives. Based on the Town’s experiences over the last four years, it is evident that there is no one location that would be acceptable to all Town residents and the wireless providers that will resolve the current situation. As a result, the Town Board is moving forward with the settlement process to begin addressing this important issue.

Click here for the Memo from Town Attorney regarding the SEQRA Review of the Verizon Settlement.

Town Board Authority to Settle Lawsuit
Legal counsel has written a response to a letter regarding the Town Board’s authority to settle the instant litigation. Click here to read a copy of correspondence from the Town’s attorney.

Verizon Settlement 2022

June 13, 2022

Overview and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The Town Board has been asked questions about why it is in settlement negotiations and what settling a lawsuit means for future wireless facilities in town. People have asked why we won’t oppose all wireless projects or why alternatives aren’t on the table in this case. Click here for our best effort at describing where we are and answering the questions.

The Town Board is dealing with the huge challenge of settling a lawsuit with Verizon and there is no possible outcome that will not impact nearby homes and sight lines. Federal communications law is not on our side after 5 years of trying to find alternatives without success. We know there are gaps in coverage and there will be a tower built at the end of this. We are working to ensure that it is less intrusive than what we will get if we continue to spend taxpayer money and then lose the lawsuit. We are also simultaneously working to figure out other locations to fill other gaps in coverage so that the Town is in a better position going forward.

The Town Board continues to review records and issues and consider the proposed settlement with Verizon to accept a wireless facility at 68 Stone Hill Road.  The Board will begin the review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act at a meeting on June 14, beginning at 6pm.

This settlement comes after a 5 year effort to address Verizon applications and find alternatives to fill gaps in coverage. The Town is in the unfortunate position after this effort to be embroiled in a lawsuit with Verizon after alternatives have been rejected. We believe settlement for the lesser intrusive option is in the best interest of the town but we need to review this option and hear public comment to make that determination.

More info

After the Planning Board rejected Verizon’s applications at Stone Hill and Hickory Lane and argued that tower sites in and around Indian Hill Park would be more effective and less intrusive, Verizon rejected the Town’s proposed alternatives and sued in Federal Court to try to get a judgement allowing them to construct a wireless facility at either the Hickory Lane or Stone Hill Road sites. The Federal Telecommunications Act gives municipalities very little leeway when it comes to rejecting cell tower applications, and the outcome of protracted and expensive litigation is uncertain. The Town Board has therefore agreed to consider this settlement. While the Planning Board rejected the Stone Hill Road application, the Town Board is willing to consider that with additional landscaping and further analysis of the original plan, a facility on Stone Hill Road will fill a gap in coverage and will be less intrusive than a cell tower at 91 Hickory Lane.

It seems pertinent to note that a recent survey shows that a majority of Bedford residents want to see improved cell service in the town. This is a matter of public and personal safety as well as convenience. But while the need for better cell service is an easy call, the specific locations of towers are not: the appropriate sites for wireless facilities in the Town to remedy the acknowledged gaps in coverage have been contemplated, reviewed, and debated for over four years. The Town’s goal is always to seek out the least intrusive, least environmentally impactful sites possible for these facilities, even while we acknowledge the ever-growing importance of wireless communications in all our lives. Based on the Town’s experiences over the last four years, it is evident that there is no one location that would be acceptable to all Town residents and the wireless providers that will resolve the current situation. As a result, the Town Board is moving forward with the settlement process to begin addressing this important issue.

Click here for the Memo from Town Attorney regarding the SEQRA Review of the Verizon Settlement.

Town Board Authority to Settle Lawsuit
Legal counsel has written a response to a letter regarding the Town Board’s authority to settle the instant litigation. Click here to read a copy of correspondence from the Town’s attorney.

Traducir al español

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list and receive newsletters, reports and emergency updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Stay Informed

Get updates from Recreation and Parks 

You have Successfully Subscribed!