AP NEWS

Cell tower rejected

December 5, 2018

The Grand Lakes Community Association board of directors has rejected a request to build a cell tower near the master-planned community of 2,800 homeowners.

The proposal to build a 140-foot-tall tower came from Vertical Bridge Holdings, based in Boca Raton, Fla., about four months ago. The company could not be reached for comment about the board’s Dec. 3 decision.

Lijuan Wang, a 10-year Grand Lakes resident, was among about 25 people who attended the Dec. 3 board meeting. At its conclusion, she asked the audience to applaud the board for its decision.

The day after the meeting, Wang, who helped organize a petition drive with signatures from 400 households, said, “The board has done their job. We’ll wait and see if we hear anything back from the construction company. It depends what comes next and then we’ll react accordingly.”

Glenn Gesoff, board president, said his decision is based on many factors. He said he conducted research and talked to people. For example, he said, cell towers are not known to adversely affect health, according to the American Cancer Society.

And, the HOA attorney told board members that restrictions exist regarding the use of the property, he explained. When the property owner, Trendmaker, sold the land to the developer, certain restrictions were attached as to what could be constructed there. When the developer brought the property it agreed to those restrictions, he added. “It’s the opinion of the lawyer that a cell tower would violate a number of those restrictions,” said Gesoff.

A Nov. 17 balloon test at the site to show the location and height of the proposed tower also led Gesoff to decide that it would in the community’s best interest to oppose the project. The vote was unanimous against the project. Other board members are Dennis Wang, Carlos Ortiz and Richard Powell.

Lillian Taylor, a 12-year Grand Lakes resident, said residents who opposed the cell tower and attended a Nov. 29 brainstorming meeting at Cinco Ranch Library learned then of board opposition to the project. The Dec. 3 meeting agenda shows email approval by the board to reject the cellular tower. Gesoff explained that board members agree via email on items but the approval isn’t final until they vote at the open session.

“It’s amazing how residents can join together and do the right thing,” added Taylor.

Discussion that closed the Dec. 3 meeting indicated some residents found it difficult to reach board members elected to represent them regarding the cell tower issue.

With 2,800 homeowners, Gesoff said it’s difficult for board members to respond to emails, texts and calls. He observed that not all the comments from residents opposed the proposed tower, either.

Minutes of the Aug. 27, 2018, board meeting say that L. Dee Thornton of Thornton Acquisition & Management Co. presented information to the board and answered resident questions regarding the pine tree cell tower proposal. When reached for comment this week, he referred comments to Vertical Bridge. Nov. 5 minutes also show a lot of discussion about the tower at that meeting.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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