Cheektowaga enters into agreement with West Seneca schools to defend against lawsuit

A public hearing to grant a special use permit to erect a 135 foot tall cellular communications tower at Southline Little League will be held. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
A public hearing to grant a special use permit to erect a 135 foot tall cellular communications tower at Southline Little League will be held. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The Town of Cheektowaga and the West Seneca Central School District will enter into a joint defense agreement after a telecommunication company filed a lawsuit against the town.

Up State Tower Company LLC and Buffalo-Lake Erie Wireless Systems Company filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in connection to the proposed cellphone tower project on the property of Southline Athletic Association at 288 N. Seine Drive.

Councilmembers for the town denied a special use permit to allow the construction of the tower during a special meeting in February.  They said the tower would negatively alter the essential character of the neighborhood, pose a danger to children, and would not be camouflaged to blend in with its natural surroundings.

The telecommunication companies had started separate legal proceedings in federal court over a proposed site on Transit Road months prior to the vote.

“At this point, the parties appear to be at an impasse which is why we’re in federal court with the dispute,” Attorney Corey Auerbach, of Barclay Damon, LLP said after the vote.  He’s representing the telecommunication companies.  “Certainly, our position is that the town reneged on the deal that they made with us and that, unfortunately, cost the taxpayers of the town significantly and the town now has to defend a lawsuit based upon the town board’s actions.”

Cheektowaga and the school district will retain the services of Hodgson Russ LLP to represent them in the litigation.

West Seneca was named as a party in the lawsuit but they have an interest in the litigation because it holds a restrictive covenant that prevents the Southline property from being used for any purpose other than a recreational purpose.

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