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AT&T sues city of Wheeling over denial of wireless tower application

By Emma Delk, The Intelligencer

WHEELING, W.Va. – AT&T has filed suit against the City of Wheeling and the city’s planning commission for their “unlawful denial” of AT&T’s application to construct a wireless telecommunications facility. Meanwhile, Wheeling’s city manager said the sides are looking at a possible compromise.

In the complaint filed in federal court June 11, AT&T states that the city’s denial of its application to construct a wireless services facility violates the Telecommunications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The TCA governs state, federal, and local government regulations regarding the development of personal wireless service facilities. The plaintiff describes the purpose of the TCA as to make a “rapid, efficient, Nationwide and world-wide wire and radio communications service with adequate facilities of reasonable charges.”

At an April 8 meeting, the planning commission voted 5-2 to deny AT&T the permit to build the cellular tower near the Augusta Levy Learning Center. AT&T outlines that the TCA requires that state and local governing bodies write a denial of a request to construct a wireless services facility “supported by substantial evidence in written record.”

“Mere generalized concerns about aesthetics and property values, or similar ‘not in my back yard’ arguments do not constitute substantial evidence under the TCA,” the complaint states.

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