California Cell Phone Tower Company Sues Park County For Denying Build Permit Of 195-Foot Tower

A California-based cellphone tower builder is suing the Park County Commission after it unanimously rejected its bid to build a 195-foot cell tower in the Cody area. The company said it has to right to build wherever it wants.

Clair McFarland

March 10, 20233 min read

Wapiti wyoming 3 10 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A California-based cellphone tower company is suing Park County, Wyoming, for its refusal to let the company build a wireless tower near Cody.   

Horizon Tower Ltd. alleges in its complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming that its proposed 195-foot cellphone tower for North Fork Highway in Cody is necessary to provide coverage in a rural service dead zone, especially near Wapiti. The company says the federal Communications Act gives it the right to build the tower, despite the Park County Commission’s opposition.  

The Park County Commission on Feb. 7 unanimously rejected Horizon’s special use permit request for the tower after hearing from community members who fear the tower would harm the land’s aesthetics, decrease property values and bring radio-frequency health risks.  

Horizon says the concerns are “not supported” by evidence.   

The tower company is asking the federal court to compel Park County to approve its special use permit. It’s also asking for the county to reimburse its court costs and attorneys’ fees and give any “other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”  

Communications Act 

According to Horizon’s complaint, the federal Communications Act requires Park County to let cell service providers fix “significant” gaps in cellular service by building wireless facilities in the least intrusive areas available.  

Horizon says it has had a lease with the landowner, Tamara Young, since Aug. 15, 2022.  

The company applied to Park County for a special use permit Oct. 17, 2022.  

Horizon claims that the area zoning allows for cellphone towers, the company gave the county all the evidence supporting its request, the tower is needed to fix a service gap and other community members’ qualms are unfounded.  

Local residents reportedly emailed multiple concerns to the county before a Jan. 24 commission hearing on Horizon’s application. Some spoke at the hearing.  

“Ultimately, the Opponents’ comments and testimony were generalized opposition to the construction of any wireless facility in the area,” Horizon’s lawsuit reads.  

The commission’s rejection notice says the tower and its wireless facility “would not be in harmony with the neighborhood, and there is a high likelihood that the proposed communication tower and corresponding facility would have a significant adverse impact on the neighborhood,” the suit relates.  

Park County Commission Chair Dossie Overfield declined to comment because of the active litigation.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter