July 30–When American Tower began building its DAS network in Northampton, Penn., it had all the authorization it needed … except for the support of the townspeople, apparently. A public uproar brought the the project to a halt midstream. As a matter of course, American Tower is working out a compromise with Northampton Township, redesigning the system to gain public support for its effort to provide residential coverage, according to Bucks Local News.
The township authorized American Tower to install components of the DAS in 56 different locations in the township, early in 2012, and the tower commenced work on March 1. However, with work on the DAS 50 percent complete and 12 poles remaining to be installed, the township pulled the plug on the project on May 15.
“In May, the supervisors, spurred on by an overwhelming backlash from residents, voted to pull building permits for American Tower’s construction of its DAS and took the company to court,” according to Bucks Local News.
Among other relatively minor violations, the township claimed that American Tower failed to disclose the exact locations and type of infrastructure that the DAS would entail.
“The Northampton Township has determined your proposed placement of certain infrastructure within the rights of way does not comply with applicable Township regulation,” according to a letter addressed to John Coste, regional manager, American Tower Outdoor DAS.
Over the next couple of months, lawsuits and counterlawsuits were filed in Bucks County Court and in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
During that time, the township’s board of directors worked out a compromise with American Tower that would move the poles out of the neighborhoods and put them onto the major arteries that already have a significant telephone pole infrastructure. The township has given ATC permission to conduct field tests on the new DAS over the next few days and weeks.