The Philadelphia Flyers are battling the New Jersey Devils this Sunday evening, but most of my neighbors are gathered on the front lawn of a house on Amsterdam Rd in this beautiful neighborhood where I have been living since 2003, in Holland PA. We have a more serious battle of our own to fight. And the reason I am writing about this in a blog originally meant for movies and books is because one of the readers or someone they know might be going through a similar situation right now somewhere in America.
Our township, who, I thought, was supposed to defend our interests, has sold us out for $120,000. A company called ATC now has the rights to install cell towers – 12 of them to begin with; there could be more and there will be more if we don’t fight, in the near future – in our front yards.
I will quote here part of the letter received from one of our neighbors (sorry, I’d like to name the author but I don’t really know who wrote the letter the entire neighborhood received; thank you by the way) to summarize the story:
“You might wonder how they can get away with it. Well, there is a loophole in the law. A bill called Telecommunication s Act of 1996 banned municipalities from using zoning or health issue to prohibit wireless facilities . The tower companies can literally come to anybody’s front lawn, erect as many towers as they want and the township cannot say anything about it. At state level, PA public Utility Commission (PUC) played an important role. They could deny ATC’s request if they had the desire, but didn’t Instead, they granted ATC ‘utility company’ status. Now, wherever your cable box or phone box is located, ATC can put a tower there. Northampton Township took the case to Bucks County court and lost. The judge ruled in favor of ATC. After that, the township cut a deal (‘settled’) with ATC. The township received $120,000 from ATC. In return, they agreed not to notify the community. As a matter of fact, the tower issue has been going on for more than a year. We only learned of it less than two weeks ago from ATC.”
I felt so disgusted as I typed the two paragraphs above it’s hard to find words. First of all, what kind of lawyers use their time and expertise looking for loopholes in the law so they can find effective ways to cause damage to fellow citizens? And what kind of township representatives do we have in place that not only are weak in their effort to fight for the community’s welfare but received money in exchange for keeping us all n the dark?
The way I see it, we need an injunction – legal fees and costs paid by the township – to stop the cell towers from invading our neighbors’ front lawns. We want these inept township representatives never to be elected again . I’m curious to see how these same law loopholes layers would react if a cell phone tower was to be installed in their front yards. Or in the township representatives’.
But something surprisingly good came from that disaster of a meeting, where basically nothing solid, not a shadow of a solution was suggested by the township representative; not even in the presence of our State Representative Scott Petri. As our hostess pointed out, tonight we were neither Republicans nor Democrats. We were what Americans were meant to be, since the very beginning: We The People.