ILNews

Judge crosses out cell tower dispute

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal suit is going back to Jeffersonville to decide whether a wireless carrier can put up a cell tower disguised as a Baptist church cross.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker Thursday remanded the case Sprint Spectrum v. City of Jeffersonville Board of Zoning Appeals, No. 4:05-cv-00154-SEB-WGH, issuing a final judgment and denying cross-motions for summary judgment from both parties. The nearly three-year-old suit was filed in the Southern District of Indiana New Albany Division.

Sprint wanted to build a "stealth facility" that would hide a cell phone tower and equipment inside a large cross on a Baptist church, something it deemed inoffensive to the church membership and less obtrusive for the neighborhood. The wireless carrier claimed it needed the tower because of inadequate service in Jeffersonville, but the board had denied a previous request for a special zoning exception in a different location and then denied the second request after public hearings in 2005.

Appealing that second decision, Sprint argued the city board had violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that was designed in part to limit local governments from unfairly restricting growth of wireless communications through local regulation.

Sprint contended that the board didn't issue a "written decision" as required by the federal law, and both sides filed cross-motions arguing that neither presented enough evidence to proceed. Judge Barker cited a lack of evidence and "he said, she said"-style claims from both sides throughout the process.

"Our analysis causes us to conclude that neither party has fully met its obligations here, and that, indeed, the record is far too meager to support a judicial determination for either side," Judge Barker wrote. "In the final analysis, Sprint must provide a more convincing record to support its need for the exception it has requested. Including a more convincing case that it lacks reasonable alternatives to correct the transmission and coverage problems. As for the Board, it too must lay out its findings and conclusions in a way that explains the insufficiencies it has found in the application before it."
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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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