Residents in the hamlet of Mahopac within the town of Carmel, NY took their fight against Verizon Wireless to court. As the Westchester Journal News reports, State Supreme Justice Thomas Davis agreed with the plaintiff’s grievances. He held that the town of Carmel entered into an unlawful agreement with Homeland Towers to build a 140 foot cell tower in a residential neighborhood. The judge found that the dealings were not conducted in a transparent manner, and were influenced by a voting member who stood to gain financially from the arrangement.
“We do not agree with the State Judge’s decision,” Manuel Vicente, President of Homeland told Inside Towers, “and will continue to vigorously pursue our legal options in our efforts to bring critical wireless infrastructure and service to the residents of Carmel.”
In a close vote to approve the cell tower construction, Town Board member Frank Lombardi voted in favor of the cell tower plan. However, as a member of the Maple Estate homeowners association, he was part of the HOA group slated to earn $18,000 per year for the land lease.
“He should have disclosed his interest and recused himself from the Town Board’s vote,” Judge Davis stated.
“It’s unfortunate that the residents of Walton Drive had to take legal action against Homeland Towers and the town,” said former Town Supervisor, Ken Schmitt, who helped facilitate the original agreement. “I’m glad the residents prevailed. I could have done a better job, doing a deeper dive into the terms of the settlement. I fault myself,” he told the Westchester Journal News.