To the Editor:
Although the evidence AT&T presented at the Chatham Township Board of Adjustment for the Buxton cell tower application was flawed at best, it appears they will have their way.
AT&T presented arguments that were false on everything from the ability to make emergency calls to the impact on home values. The case they presented was not compelling and full of disrespect for the township's master plan and the facts. From noise and visual impact to the actual need for coverage, their case was weak.
Noise will permeate neighbor's yards. Nine-foot fences to hide the lumbering support equipment wouldn't be allowed on a neighboring residential property, and the supposed coverage gaps are disproved by calls made on video for all to see as fact. They tried using scare tactics stating that emergency calls could not be made in the disputed areas, and only on direct questioning from residents did they admit that emergency calls could use any available network.
Chatham Township had ample reason to deny this application and was in no way "capricious" in their decision. A judge initially supported that fact, but after his initial ruling was somehow convinced to reverse his opinion. Now, even though the Board of Adjustment voted to reappeal the ruling at their recent meeting, they have since been legally advised that the case will be expensive and not likely to be won.
In the face of this legal advice, they have decided not to pursue the appeal. The deadline for the appeal is Monday, Feb 22. The telecom companies have managed to push through state and federal laws that can be so broadly interpreted that even in a case where they fail to provide reasonable evidence, local government and private citizens can not prevail against Goliath. I have lost faith in our justice system and government.