The company seeking to build a controversial cell tower in Mashpee has filed a federal lawsuit against the Town of Mashpee.
Blue Sky Towers II, LLC filed the action November 13 in the US District Court for Massachusetts in Boston.
In the filing, Blue Sky alleges that the town of violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 when the Mashpee planning board in October denied the company’s application for a 150-foot cell tower at the Fire Station 2 on Red Brook Road.
In addition to the town, the lawsuit names the Mashpee Planning Board and its individual members.
The Mashpee selectmen will discuss the litigation in executive session on Monday, according to an agenda for their regular meeting.
The tower, which would have brought cellular service to parts of southern Mashpee where service can be scant or nonexistent, has sparked controversy among residents for the better part of two years since Blue Sky was granted the project in 2017.
While some residents have cited public safety as a reason for building the tower, others have raised concerns about aesthetics and possible effects on property values.
The contentious 3-2 decision by the planning board to reject the application was always likely to result in litigation. At the public hearing where the board issued its decision in October, planning board chair Mary Waygan stated, “we’ll likely be before a judge to explain it.”
In its decision, the board cited testimony and letters from residents concerned over the tower’s adverse impact upon the aesthetics, the possible detriment to property values of neighboring homes, Mashpee zoning bylaws, and an alleged failure by the developer to establish that less intrusive alternatives were not available.
In public hearings, the town’s fire chief and police captain called bringing better cell service and radio communication to southern Mashpee a matter of public safety.
Both public safety officials, as well as residents who spoke in favor of the tower during public hearings, pointed to a microburst which struck parts of southern Mashpee this summer, leaving about 2,000 homes without power, as evidence of the area’s need for better cell coverage.
A radio frequency engineer from Verizon estimated that the tower would bring cell coverage to some 1,400 residents.
The cell tower project has previously received a green light from the Cape Cod Commission.
The project also passed the zoning board of appeals, though that decision was later appealed to Barnstable Superior Court.