Verizon cell tower prompts talk of lawsuit

"If not, the next step is getting federal court involved, which is not what we want to do," he said.

O'Malley said a lawsuit, which was officially filed Wednesday, May 19, puts on record that Verizon wants compliance under the law and wants an idea about how to approach cell coverage in the area.

Gary Mittleman, an opponent of the tower, cited a 1924 deed restriction he said prevents the building of anything other than private dwellings to be used for residential purposes on the land, and further, a release from those restrictions would require everyone whose property is traced back to the deed to give consent. He said there are 24 property owners now.

He said the property was sold by what is now the North Colonie Central School District, and in 1959, when the church was built, the district released them from the deed. He said they may have needed a complete consent, but it is unlikely there will be a suit as action would have had to been taken no more than 10 years after the church was constructed.

Mittleman said, though, a 2007 release from the deed is still close enough for residents to bring suit, and the land owners could sue the church and Verizon if the tower is constructed, as it does not fit with the 1924 deed restriction.

Mittleman said he personally does not feel a suit can be brought against the town, planning board or school district, but other tower opponents may pursue that course of action.

Joe LaCivita, director of planning and economic development said it is hard to predict the decision of the planning board, when it decides to act.

"There are members on both sides of the fence about this," he said. "They're going to have to vote their consciences."

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