Cell tower OK under zoning ordinance

The cell phone tower erected in the 500 block of N. Teel Dr. is covered by the City’s Code of Ordinances and didn’t require approval from the City Council to be constructed.
Skyway Towers and Vincent Gerard & Associates approached the City about the possibility of building a new cell phone tower in Devine in 2018, and City Attorney Tom Cate briefed the Council about the prospect of a new tower during the Regular meeting held on April 16, 2019.
During that meeting, Cate explained that there are no ordinances covering smaller cell phone towers that are frequently installed on rights-of-way, and suggested that Council consider approving one.
“But that is not what they’re talking about,” Cate said. “The big cell tower is going to be regulated by our zoning ordinance, so we’ve already got that.”
The area around the 500 block of Teel Dr. is classified as a Class G retail business district, which specifically allows for the construction of a “telephone exchange, including office and repair facilities.” The cell tower is on private property, and only required the necessary building permits, fees, and inspections.

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“We don’t have to take any action on regulating the tall tower that they’re talking about right now because we’ll be able to regulate that through our zoning ordinances,” Cate said. “But the small towers, sooner or later we’re going to have to pass this one.”
A motion by current mayor and then-District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson and former District 2 Councilman David Valdez to postpone creating an ordinance regulating cell phone towers inside the City limits passed unanimously with the support of District 3 Councilman David Espinosa, District 1 Councilman Steve Lopez, and then-District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott.
The meeting’s minutes, which were approved by Council, are posted on the City website at www.cityofdevine.org.
Council has not yet passed an ordinance regulating cell towers inside the City limits.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer