A federal lawsuit has been filed by Skyway Towers against the city of McKinney, TX and its City Council for failure to approve a rezoning request. The request for rezoning of a residential district to accommodate a 95-foot T-Mobile cell tower was denied by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on May 26. According to Community Impact Newspaper, two weeks later, McKinney City Council also unanimously voted to deny the request.
The City Council raised concerns about a potential collapse of the tower and cited the proposed tower’s proximity to the neighborhood and community church as reasons for the denial.
As noted in Skyway’s federal lawsuit, Mayor George Fuller, familiar with the case and its presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission, only granted SkyWay five minutes to address the council.
“All of the council is aware of the presentation [the applicant] made at P&Z, and we are aware that the presentation went on for an hour or more,” Fuller said at the meeting. “We will not be doing that tonight. We’ve had that benefit to see that presentation. I will afford the applicant minutes, not hours, to make the presentation.”
The federal lawsuit, filed on August 5, in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, claims violation of the Communications Act. Also, according to the lawsuit, Skyway claims the denial of its application was based on reasons that were “not supported by substantial evidence” and thus say they are entitled to an order directing the City to grant the application for the proposed facility.
SkyWay attorney Bebb Francis said the city’s setback requirements are prohibiting the development of the tower. “This is a highly residential area that needs this service,” said Bebb.
Responding to the federal suit, the city of McKinney said, “The city will vigorously defend the claims in the lawsuit.”
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