Although it was recommended for approval by the planning and zoning committee, mixed messages were given regarding the construction of a telephone pole made with APC Towers.
City council tabled the installation of a 100-foot monopole wireless communications facility with T-Mobile at this week’s council meeting. If reviewed again and approved, the pole would be built on a 3.29 acre tract of land in the unplatted commercial reserve in the Cimarron Country Club.
T-Mobile hoped to construct a wireless tower to increase coverage, and some of the residents of Cimarron voiced their concerns of the initial location of the antenna. Staff recommended that based on changing the location of the antenna itself, the tower can be approved to be built.
However, when representative Charlie Mitchell came forward to speak on the item, they could not move the tower to the northwest side of the lot as originally agreed upon. They could only have it placed on the northeast corner, adjacent to a public roadway.
“For people who live in the area right now who would be affected in a positive way, it would be 14,000 people,” Mitchell said. “People come through that area for work would be 15,600. The average daily vehicle that’s covered on I-2 that goes across there, there’s about 48,000 people that would be affected.”
Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa expressed in the discussion that she was looking forward to the item being passed and the monopole being placed in that location.
“I’m a little selfish on this one, because I am a T-Mobile user for over 15 years,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “And my kids will be so ecstatic once this goes up, because once we hit that area, I was at Walmart earlier and there was no service whatsoever. I thought I had lost my phone.”
“I’ve taken into account everything that you all have said, and the hard work and everything, making sure that our Missionites get cell service in that area,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “From my personal experience, it is really bad.”
The representatives said that they had already been working
on the environmental reports, which is why T-Mobile preferred to keep the tower on the northeast corner. When the amount of coverage was questioned, they stated it would cover seven-tenths of a mile indoors.
This was news to City Manager Martin Garza and council member Norie Gonzalez Garza.
“That’s not a lot,” Martin Garza said.
Mayor Armando O’caña and Ortega-Ochoa voted in favor of passing the item, and council members Gonzalez Garza, Ruben Plata and Gus Martinez all voted to table the item until the city manager would review the proposal again.
“I would like to see a more clear foundation of what we’re doing,” said Garza. “I was under a different impression, so I’d like to review this a little bit further.”
Ortega-Ochoa mentioned that she didn’t want the representatives from T-Mobile to have made the trip to city hall only to not get the item passed.
“I’m very disappointed that we’ve gotten to this point just to table it,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “Obviously this company has taken a lot of effort, time and energy, and whenever something comes before us, I expect it to come with full information.”
Following the decision, Ortega-Ochoa followed the presenters out of the hall and spoke to them before they left.
In addition to this item, a debate about a single family residential lot (R-1) lot on the northwest corner of East Griffin Parkway and Bryan Rd. in the Bodine subdivision that wanted to be rezoned as a general commercial plot (C-3) went on for over 40 minutes.
The owner of the property, Dr. Norma L. Cavazos, hoped to change the zoning in order to sell the land and home her family grew up in because she no longer had a need for the large space. It was implied during the presentation of the item that she hoped to have it zoned C-3 in order to have a Starbucks built in its place.
A few residents who live behind her property came forward to voice their concerns about the level of traffic and the space a commercial business would add to their already heavily-trafficked area.
Staff recommended denying the rezoning, citing neighbors of the lot complaining about the potential traffic.
“They [neighboring residents] would support a rezoning when Bryan Rd. gets widened, but not at this time,” said Planning Director Jaime Acevedo. “There was public opposition during the P & Z [Planning and Zoning] meeting, the board unanimously recommended denial of the rezoning.”
Other residents supported the change, saying it was inevitable and pointing out that all three other the corners on that street area are already zoned as commercial to some capacity. They also mentioned that the traffic issues are due to the size of the road, and if anything should be worked on, the road should be reconstructed.
“This is a very busy area, I think everybody has conceded to that and agrees,” Cavazos said. “There’s a lot of traffic, and the widening of Bryan Rd. needs to be reconsidered.”
Cavazos said that she has been trying to get her land rezoned to no avail.
“Three corners are being allowed to be rezoned accept for mine,” Cavazos said. “I think it would be discrimination not to allow my corner to be zoned that way. I’m open and willing to sit down with the council.”
After listening to both sides, city council approved the rezoning, but on the condition that it would be rezoned C-2 rather than C-3, which means whatever gets built or sold on that property must come before council again for approval.