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Primeco Personal Communications v. City of Mequon

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Verizon sued the City of Mequon for rejecting Verizon’s request to build an antenna behind a church.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A city cannot deny a permit for the construction of an antenna without evidence that the antenna would cause harm.

    Facts.

    Verizon sought to increase it’s cellular coverage in the City of Mequon (City) by building an antenna in a nearby church’s backyard. The City rejected Verizon’s proposal to build the antenna behind the church and Verizon sued. The lower court granted summary judgment for Verizon and the City appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a city can deny a permit for the construction of an antenna?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed. The permit denial is erroneous because there is no evidence that the antenna would be unsightly behind the church or even less unsightly at the other proposed locations. Similarly, cellular phone coverage would be increased to 95 percent if an antenna is placed behind the church, as opposed to 72 percent if an antenna is placed at the alternative locations.

    Discussion.

    In order for a decision to deny a construction permit to be reasonable, the availability of cell phone service following the construction of the antenna as well as the unsightliness of the antenna must be considered. The commissioner’s decision will be invalidated if the decision is erroneous. The decision remains erroneous if there is a lack of evidence.


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