Trial date set in cell tower dispute

Via the Wyoming News Exchange

CODY (WNE) — The legal battle between Park County and Horizon Tower LLC over a proposed 195-foot cell tower in Wapiti now has a trial date.


According to a pretrial conference order from federal Judge Alan B. Johnson, Horizon’s litigation against the county is currently expected to be considered in an April 15, 2024, bench trial in Cheyenne. 


A bench trial involves no jury; it is conducted solely by a judge who determines the facts of the case and applies the law in his or her decision.


The parties are currently selecting their expert witnesses. 


The proposed trial will take place over a year after the Park County commissioners first denied Horizon’s Special Use Permit application on Feb. 7, 2023.


Horizon had been requested to build the new cell tower on Tamara Young’s property in Wapiti by Verizon Wireless. In addition to Verizon, the tower could have been used by up to three other additional cell service providers.


The tower was intended as a way to fill gaps in cell service but met strong public opposition from Wapiti Valley residents, who expressed concerns about negative impacts to the viewshed, wildlife and property values, among other issues.


Because of these concerns, county commissioners found the tower was “not in harmony” with the neighborhood on Feb. 7. The application had previously been denied by the county planning and zoning commission.


A month after that decision, Horizon filed suit in Wyoming’s U.S. District Court. The company argued the commission’s decision was unlawful because it effectively prohibited cellular service in the Wapiti area, and was “not supported by substantial evidence.”


The case could potentially be resolved through either a summary judgment or a settlement prior to the April trial date, according to the court documents.


This story was published on May 31, 2023.


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