SkyWay Towers filed a federal lawsuit Aug. 5, after McKinney City Council voted unanimously to deny the developer’s rezoning request to install a T-Mobile communications tower in a residential area at its June 16 meeting.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, claims the city’s denial of its application was based on reasons that were “not supported by substantial evidence.”
It also claims that the denial violates the federal Communications Act and that Skyway Towers is “entitled to an order directing the City to grant Skyway’s application for the proposed facility,” according to the lawsuit.
“The city will vigorously defend the claims in the lawsuit,” the city of McKinney said in a statement regarding the case.
SkyWay Towers had requested to construct a T-Mobile communications tower at 2705 Virginia Parkway, which is also the site of Revolution Church. It said the tower was necessary, as there was a gap in T-Mobile coverage in this area as well as general growth in the need for wireless service. No other sites that could fill this gap would be suitable for constructing such a tower, SkyWay Towers said in its presentation to City Council.
The proposed tower would have been 95 feet tall with a 4-foot lightning rod.
Before appearing before McKinney City Council, the rezoning request went before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on May 26. Commissioners voiced concerns about the proposed tower’s proximity to the neighborhood and the safety of the neighborhood in the event of a potential collapse of the tower. They denied the project's application.
At the City Council meeting, Mayor George Fuller told SkyWay Towers he was familiar with the case and its presentation and initially allocated five minutes to address the council. Skyway Towers requested additional time and was then granted 10 minutes, which was noted in the lawsuit.
“All of council is aware of the presentation [the applicant] made at P&Z, and we are aware that 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.”
Council was also concerned with the height and the location of the tower with its proximity to residences in the area.
“This is a highly residential area that needs this service,” Bebb Francis, the attorney for SkyWay Towers, said during the meeting. He said the city’s setback requirements are prohibiting the development of the tower.
When asked about the lawsuit, Francis told Community Impact Newspaper that SkyWay does not comment on pending litigation.