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John W. Pestle, Esq.

Attorney at Varnum LLP
Grand Rapids, Michigan
John Pestle is Chair of the Telecommunications Group at the Varnum LLP law firm. Since 1996 has represented property owners (companies, municipalities, schools, churches, farms, etc.) on cell tower leases, amendments and sales. He has represented clients on the sale of more than 70 cell tower leases and future leasing rights and had provided model cell tower leases, currently to more than 500 organizations nationwide.
For over 30 years has represented clients on cable, telecommunications and other utility matters. He has represented municipalities on 1996 statute adding cell tower zoning provisions to federal law, received Member of the Year award from national municipal group for same. He also represented National League of Cities and other municipal groups opposing Federal Communications Commission limits on local zoning, permitting for cellular and broadcast towers.
John received Special Award of Merit from the Michigan Municipal League for his work representing municipalities on cable and telecommunications matters. He is past chair of both the Municipal Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the Legal Section of the American Public Power Association.
John held FCC First Class Radio Telephone license to work on radio, TV and ship radar transmitters. He is admitted to practice in Michigan and Arizona. John is a graduate, Harvard College, Yale Graduate School and the University of Michigan Law School.

About Me

What are some recognizable representative clients?
I have represented property owners across the country (businesses, developers, schools, churches, municipalities, real estate companies) on the grant, renewal and modification of cell tower leases with companies like Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile and Crown Castle. I have also represented clients on the evaluation or sale of over sixty (60) cell tower leases and future leasing rights to companies like American Tower, Crown Castle, SBA, Wireless Capital Partners, Unison, Tri-Star Investors and Landmark Dividend. Many of these leases and sales were for antennas on buildings, smokestacks, water towers or other structures and thus were particularly complicated so as to protect the client's future use of the building, structure, water tower etc. for its primary purpose.
What honors or awards have you received?
I was recognized with the Michigan Municipal League Special Award of Merit, 2006, for my state and national work on behalf of municipalities to preserve local cable franchising and control over the public rights-of-way. I also received the NATOA, Ovation Award (1997 and 1995) and Certificate of Appreciation (1994) for assistance to municipalities nationwide on telecommunications matters. I was also named National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisor Member of the Years, 1996, for my work in representing municipalities on the passage and implementation of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.


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Association Position
State Bar of Arizona Member
Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys Professionalism and Education Committee
State Bar of Michigan Member
Federal Communications Bar Association Member
American Public Power Association Past Chairman of the Legal Section
Grand Rapids Bar Association Member
International Municipal Lawyers Association Former Chair


School Degree Graduation Year
Harvard College B.A. 1970
University of Michigan Law School J.D. 1975
Yale University M.A. 1972

Contact Information

Varnum LLP

PO Box 352
333 Bridge St NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49501