“My goal is to resolve every legal issue efficiently and effectively – whether it’s securing a high-priority development site; defending clients’ property rights; or addressing local, state, and federal regulatory matters.”

Tony offers clients a comprehensive, full-service approach to tackling their legal challenges. His areas of advice and counsel include matters related to:

  • Real estate
  • Telecommunications and wireless infrastructure development
  • Administrative and regulatory law

Tony’s real estate practice includes the negotiation of real estate agreements – including commercial leasing, related due diligence, and title risk resolution – with private parties; public utilities; public universities; and local, state, and federal governments and agencies. He also represents clients in obtaining zoning and land development approvals from all levels of government and in real estate litigation. In his administrative and regulatory practice, Tony addresses areas of environmental and telecommunications law, including the defense and resolution of local, state, and federal enforcement actions.


  • Helped client win bid and negotiated agreement for the development of wireless infrastructure throughout the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus.
  • Obtained all the necessary agreements, permits, and zoning approvals from the local, county, and state agencies for the subdivision of lakefront property.
  • Defeated an encroaching development that interfered with client’s property rights.



William Mitchell College of Law, J.D.; magna cum laude

University of Minnesota, B.S.


  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Tony Dorland is pleased to present the blog series, Tower Law Update. Tony summarizes recent judicial cases and legislation related to the contracting, zoning, environmental review, constructions, and operation of wireless antennas, towers, and facilities.

Tower Law Update

Recent antenna, tower and wireless cases.
  • CROWN CASTLE NG ATLANTIC LLC v. CITY OF NEWPORT NEWS, United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, CIVIL NO. 4:15CV93.

    In a case that has been appealed  to the 4th Circuit, the District Court found that the City’s Franchise Agreement with Crown Castle does not subject Crown Castle to the City’s zoning ordinance or zoning approval.  The District Court held that the City’s actions to require Crown Castle to comply with the zoning ordinance and either remove its equipment, comply with conditions described in the City Code, or obtain conditional use permits are in violation of the Franchise Agreement.   

    The Court stated that even if the Franchise Agreement did subject Crown Castle to the zoning ordinance, the requirements and restrictions the City seeks to impose would be inappropriate as Crown Castle’s services fit within the zoning ordinance’s definition of “local utilities”; these local utilities are permitted uses in every zoning district in the City and do not require additional zoning approval or conditional use permits.

    In regard to Virginia state law, the Court held that the City’s attempts to require Crown Castle to comply with the restrictions and requirements found in the zoning ordinance for “communication towers/antennas” violates the Code of Virginia § 56-462(C).   The Court found that Crown Castle is a certificated provider of telecommunications services and the restrictions and requirements the City seeks to impose are undoubtedly greater than those it imposes on “all providers of telecommunications services and nonpublic providers of cable television, electric, natural gas, water and sanitary sewer services.” 

    The Court stated that the  “statute does not allow the City to single out a certificated provider of telecommunications services for more burdensome treatment based solely on the unique equipment or technology it uses.”

  • When the Village of Corrales denied AT&T a special permit to construct a 65-foot tall cell phone tower, AT&T filed suit, asserting (among other things) that the Village's denial amounted to an effective prohibition of personal wireless services in violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA). The district court agreed, granted summary judgment in favor of AT&T, and ordered the Village to approve the necessary permits. The Village appealed, and the 10th Circuit affirmed. 
    Read more »

    The issues before the Court were as follows: (a) whether the decision to deny Cellular South's Application was not supported by "substantial evidence contained in a written record," in accordance with 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(iii), and (b) whether the Board's denial of Cellular South's application effectively prohibited the provision of personal wireless services in violation of 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(II).
    Read more »
  •  In Smith Communications, LLC v. Washington County, Arkansas (8th Circuit, May 12, 2015), the Court held that a locality may rely on detailed meeting minutes to provide its written reasons for denial so long as the locality's reasons are stated clearly enough to enable judicial review, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in T-Mobile S., LLC v. City of Roswell, Ga., 135 S. Ct. 808, 816 (2015).
    Read more »
  • In its decision the US Supreme Court held that it would be considerably difficult for a reviewing court to determine whether a locality’s denial was “supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record,” §332(c)(7)(B)(iii), or whether a locality had “unreasonably discriminate[d] among providers of functionally equivalent services,” §332(c)(7)(B)(i)(I), or regulated siting “on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions,” §332(c)(7)(B)(iv), if localities were not obligated to state their reasons for denial.  Read more »

  • As stated in the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on January 8, 2015, the “Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopts rules to update and tailor the manner in which it evaluates the impact of proposed deployments of wireless infrastructure on the environment and historic properties. The Commission also adopts rules to clarify and implement statutory requirements applicable to State and local governments in their review of wireless infrastructure siting applications, and it adopts an exemption from its environmental public notification process for towers that are in place for only short periods of time. Taken together, these steps will reduce the cost and delays associated with facility siting and construction, and thereby facilitate the delivery of more wireless capacity in more locations to consumers throughout the United States.”
    Read more »


Professional Associations

  • Minnesota State Bar Association – Real Property Section
  • Hennepin County Bar Association