White Plains, NY—March 29, 2023—Cuddy & Feder is pleased to announce that the firm obtained a height variance for AT&T, T-Mobile, Dish and Crown Castle to extend a wireless communications tower, a first of its kind decision in New York City from the Board of Standards & Appeals (BSA).
Network signal blocking due to an eighty-foot tall hotel built ten feet away from an existing seventy-foot monopole was impacting thousands of wireless customers. For wireless network engineers the solution was obvious, extend the tower. For network siting teams, navigating complex City zoning laws involved a full adjudicatory proceeding before the BSA as part of a request to vary NYC’s sky-plane exposure rules.
In a first of its kind decision, the BSA granted a 36’ height variance to permit the existing monopole to be extended. The BSA carefully reviewed the evidence presented by the firm which included proof that the new hotel rooftop was unleasable, that there were no by-right alternatives in adjacent residential zoning districts, and that a 20’ federal EFR extension would not be sufficient to meet carrier needs in serving the community. Additionally, evidence developed by the firm included a demonstration that other alternatives allowed by special use permit, including new towers in parks or other nearby residential districts, would actually create more impacts on the adjacent community in comparison to extending the existing monopole.
After several hearings, including Community Board support for the project and a commitment to streetscape improvements at the compound’s frontage on a City sidewalk, the BSA granted a height variance allowing Crown to extend the monopole, AT&T and T-Mobile to move higher and upgrade existing technologies and also create collocation space for Dish. To see the BSA’s decision. The BSA’s findings included that “the proposed modification is a public necessity that it is required to render safe and adequate service, and that there are compelling reasons, which make it more feasible to modify the existing structure …. the Board finds that the proposed variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood or district in which the Premises are located; will not substantially impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property; and will not be detrimental to the public welfare.”
“Winning complex tower proceedings requires thoughtful marshalling the facts and articulation of the law so regulators can make tough decisions in getting wireless services to their constituents,” said Christopher B. Fisher, Chairman of the firm’s Telecommunications group. “There will never be a substitute for the kind of professionalism and team play it takes to win tough cases in the administrative forum. For this one, four valued clients came together under our counsel in a win for themselves, their customers, and NYC,” he added.
About Cuddy & Feder, LLP
Cuddy & Feder LLP proudly serves clients in the areas of real estate; land use, zoning & development; litigation; trusts, estates & elder law; public and private finance (including tax-exempt and taxable bond financing); corporate; telecommunications; energy & environmental; cannabis law; and non-profit organizations. Over 50 years, we have established ourselves as the leading law firm serving a vast region that includes Westchester, New York City, Connecticut and the Hudson River Valley. Our foundation is local, and we enjoy enduring relationships with leaders, institutions and decision-makers in the communities we serve.