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Cell tower company decries Planning Board's 'contumacious conduct'

By Stephen Betts | Feb 18, 2021
This is where a cell tower on 182 Camden St. in Rockland is proposed to be erected.

Rockland — The company that wants to erect a cell tower on Camden Street in Rockland has asked a federal judge to accept an agreement it negotiated with the City Council and to bypass objections of the Planning Board.

Bay Communications filed a motion Feb. 17 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

"The City has now repeatedly expressed its desire and willingness to comply with the terms of the Judgment ultimately entered by this Court. It is solely the contumacious conduct of the City of Rockland Planning Board that has resulted in Bay’s motion for contempt. That the Planning Board does not like or agree with Bay, the Facility, the Rockland City Council, the City’s lawyers or the Agreement for Judgment simply has no bearing on the propriety or enforceability of the Judgment," Bay Communications states in its motion.

Contumacious is defined as "stubbornly or willfully disobedient to authority."

"The City has proposed an Amended Agreement for Judgment that will permit the real parties in interest (it and Bay) to effectuate the terms of the Judgment, notwithstanding the Planning Board’s repeated refusal to act in accordance with the Judgment.

"As a remedy for the Planning Board’s contempt, Bay is prepared to accept the terms of the Amended Agreement for Judgment proposed by the City and an amended Judgment consistent with its terms."

"The Planning Board has no authority to countermand the City’s decision to settle litigation, nor is the Planning Board authorized to retain separate counsel. The Planning Board simply serves at the pleasure of the City Council," Bay Communications argues.

The Planning Board rejected Bay Communications' proposal in February 2020.

Bay Communications appealed that rejection to federal court.

The City Council settled the federal lawsuit in November 2020 but one of the conditions of the settlement was that the Planning Board approve the project. The board, which was not consulted on the case by the Council or the city's attorneys, has refused to approve the project.

The Planning Board hired its own attorney and has asked the federal court to throw out the settlement reached between the City Council and Bay Communications.

The City Council is asking the court to bypass the Planning Board.

No hearings have been scheduled on the various motions.

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Comments (12)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Feb 20, 2021 07:43

Now that the Schumer,Schiff Scham show has concluded perhaps Susan Collins is back in her office and could assist from Washington ?

Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Feb 19, 2021 08:14

Hi's AT&T

by now anyone with faulty reception would've bought something else.  duh

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Feb 18, 2021 23:15

Contumacious. Wow!.  How very petulant and froward of them.

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Feb 18, 2021 13:47

"nor is the planning board authorized to retain separate council "      Really? I thought this was America.  No one has to sign something they don't believe in. The only way to hurt these people is to hit them in the pocket book.  You have a choice as to what cell phone you use.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Feb 18, 2021 13:43

Very well stated Mr. Copp.

Posted by: Jack S Copp | Feb 18, 2021 12:21

Contumacious (Stubbornly or -Willfully- Disobedient to Authority) I like this word. In my opinion, it beautifully describes Bay Communications' motion and the City Council and their lawyers' advice (which we are all paying for) to try to disobey the real authorities here, which are the Rockland Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Their authority is granted to them by Maine Title 30a and not our City Council, period. Our planning board is not the one being disobedient. On the contrary, it is Bay Communications and our City Council who knowingly, and with the bad advice of their (expert) legal team have made many false claims, that somehow the Planning Board caused all this, and they are in the right. The Rockland Planning Board followed the letter and the spirit of the law in everything they have done, throughout this process, which is their mandate, and no amount of legal revisionism, upside down logic, or uninformed wishful thinking should ever have the power to sway the good people of Rockland, or will ever change the actual facts in this matter.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Feb 18, 2021 11:41

Whereas a planning board has NO decision making powers, but is there to offer suggestions to a city council that DOES have the decision making powers, I stand contumaciously against taxpayers paying a penny of any and all associated legal fees and fines. If the ducks were not in a row to prevent the antennae installation in the first place any legal standing to stop it is most likely futile and a waste of someones money. Especially an attempt to prevent it at the 11th hour based on feelings. Have at it as long as I don't have to pay for it.

Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Feb 18, 2021 10:00

No way, Our Planning board operated on principles. This is ridiculous nonsense. I like what Valerie said.

Posted by: Mary Susan Hurst | Feb 18, 2021 09:50

Rockland, Maine, the Contumacious Capitol of Maine. I kind of like that.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Feb 18, 2021 08:31

I continue to give great praise to the "Contumacious" planning board.  Without its decision making powers the planning bard is nothing more than a paper tiger with no teeth.  Shame on the City Council for folding like a cheap deck of cards at the whims of this corporation.  I again urge the entire planning board to resign in protest.  I know I have said this several times, but I'll keep repeating "Resign, and let the City select a new group that will dutifully nod their heads at the right moment".  Lots of money spent on high priced lawyers and so far is the outcome any different ?

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Feb 18, 2021 08:10

With those words, this Big Corporation sounds like a little child.  I am on the side of the Planning Board.  The Rockland City Councilors are to be blamed for the lawsuit, not the Planning Board!



Posted by: Mark J Olson | Feb 18, 2021 07:20

Contumacious? Why,  because a big corporation blew into town and didn’t get their way? That’s what Boards are for!! Maybe someone should be re-evaluating the City Council and its legal team.

All hail the “Contumacious” everywhere! #eyesoreforlife

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