Maurice River

In 2003, Lemanowicz LLP was retained by a major tower company to secure zoning approval for a freestanding lattice tower in Maurice River Township, New Jersey.  The proposed tower was to be constructed approximately one-half mile from the banks of the Maurice River.  The Maurice River is a federally-designated "wild and scenic river" under the National Environmental Protection Act ("NEPA").  Given the sensitive, federally-protected nature of the area, the Township's zoning ordinance required applicants to submit proof of a federal environmental review of the proposed project.  Lemanowicz LLP proposed that the tower was "categorically excluded" from an environmental evaluation under NEPA because it had "no significant impact on the quality of the human environment." 

Shortly after the firm filed an application for zoning approval with the Township, a non-profit organization known as Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries, Inc. intervened as an interested party.  Citizens United argued that the firm's application was incomplete due to the absence of an environmental assessment by the Federal Communications Commission.  The organization proposed that the planned tower was not categorically excluded from NEPA because it would impact a number of local species, most conspicuously the endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander.  To settle the dispute, the firm and counsel for Citizens United each filed a petition to the Federal Communicaitons Commission that requested a determination as to whether the proposed tower was categorically excluded from NEPA. 

To establish that the tower did not present a significant impact on the quality of the human environment,  Lemanowicz LLP employed the services of qualified environmental experts.  One of the experts camped at the site for an extended period to determine whether it was inhabited by Eastern Tiger Salamanders.  The expert concluded that there was no evidence that the site was a salamander habitat.  On the basis of Lemanowicz LLP's direct examination of the expert, as well as other evidence and testimony, the FCC determined that the proposed tower was categorically excluded from environmental review.  The case was remanded to Maurice River Township, which deemed the application complete and later granted zoning approval to the project.  The tower was built in 2005 and continues to enable wireless communications carriers to provide quality service to the residents of Maurice River. 

The Maurice River litigation is just one example of how Lemanowicz LLP guided a client through the bureucratic process to obtain a favorable result.  If you or your business could benefit from such guidance, do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation.