Cell tower denial prompts suit against Alton

Ann Knef Jan. 24, 2008, 4:52am

USCOC of Greater Missouri, which does business as U.S. Cellular, is suing Alton for denying a special use permit for the construction of a 90-foot wireless stealth tower.

According to a lawsuit filed Jan. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, USCOC of Greater Missouri seeks an injunction forcing the city to approve a special use permit application submitted by the plaintiff on Sept. 10, 2007, and issue all other necessary permits in order to build a tower at 1200 G Milton Rd.

USCOC of Greater Missouri claims that after it submitted its application, the city's planning commission voted to recommend the proposal on Nov. 20, 2007. The complaint also states that the city council approved a resolution in favor of the proposal during a meeting Nov. 28, 2007. But, on Dec. 19, 2007, the city council voted to deny the application, the complaint states.

"Defendant's denial of Plaintiff's SUP Application was not in writing or supported by substantial evidence," the complaint states.

USCOC of Greater Missouri claims the city violated state and federal law by turning down its proposal.

Among other things, the plaintiff alleges the city's denial was "arbitrary, capricious and irrational and not given in good faith."

"Defendant's denial of Plaintiff's SUP Application was intentional selective treatment based on impermissible considerations which are unrelated to any legitimate state objective," the complaint states.

"Defendant's denial...improperly favors existing service providers over Plaintiff."

USCOC of Greater Missouri is represented by Michael C. Seamands of Lashly & Baer in St. Louis.

"Plaintiff expended substantial time and money in connection with the Property and Defendant's conduct interfered with Plaintiff's investment-backed expectations," the complaint states.

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