Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 16, 2017

Fed. Dist Court in OH Holds a Stop-Work Order Constituted a Final Action Under the Telecommunications Act

Defendant Nicholas Rettig, Zoning Inspector of Napoleon Township, issued a stop-work order prohibiting the plaintiff, STC Towers, LLC, from building a cell tower in the Township. Since STC proposed to place the tower in a residential district, Rettig stated that the Township’s zoning code required STC to obtain a conditional-use permit. STC claimed that the Township had no authority to regulate the tower’s location, because state law prevented townships from regulating cell towers unless a township’s Fiscal Officer gives notice of the Township’s intent to do so, which the Fiscal Officer of Napoleon Township did not do. STC further claimed that defendants’ conduct violated the Telecommunications Act 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B) because it prohibited the provision of personal wireless services.
Defendants contended that the Telecommunications Act claim was untimely because STC did not sue within thirty days of the Township’s “final action or failure to act.” The record indicated, however, that STC never sought permission to build the cell tower or a conditional-use permit that would authorize it to place the tower in a residential district. Thus, the court determined that Rettig’s stop-work order that stated that the Township was bringing the project to a halt, was a “final action” that triggered the statute of limitations. As STC sued within thirty days of the stop-work order, its Telecommunications Act was deemed timely, and its request for declaratory relief was therefore viable. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings was denied.
STC Towers, LLC v Rettig, 2017 WL 4417754 (ND OH 8/3/2017)

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