Missouri City authorizes construction of cell tower near Edible Arbor Trail

Missouri City City Council voted Monday to allow T-Mobile to construct a 120-foot telecommunications tower at 3900 Raoul Wallenberg Lane, south of Oyster Creek, to provide for coverage gaps in the area and enhance 911 emergency services.

Also located on the site is the synagogue Congregation Beth El, which owns the 4 acres of property.

City Council expressed concerns that such a tower would disrupt the scenic beauty of the community.

“I’d hate to live next to this,” Mayor Allen Owen said. “I’d hate for neighbors to have to look at this.”

The cell tower would be on the back side of Missouri City’s Edible Arbor Trail, one of the community’s best amenities, Council Member Anthony Maroulis said.

Attorney W. Bebb Francis III, representing the developer and telecommunications company Eco-Site, addressed City Council about why such equipment is necessary.

“The reason that there is a significant gap in the service is because your city is growing, as you certainly know,” Francis said. “But with that creates a significant demand in the service.”

Many households rely heavily on wireless devices, which means connectivity is an important issue for residents, Francis said. In addition to providing recreational uses and social engagement, these devices deliver emergency alerts and news updates to citizens from the city, he said.

“Critically almost 90 percent of 911 calls are placed by wireless devices,” Francis said. “That emphasizes the realization that connectivity is a public safety issue.”

The tower will offload digital traffic from nearby towers, increasing service levels, said Paul Williams, a radio frequency engineer for T-Mobile.

“I’m not happy about it, but at the end of the day, I err on [the side of] safety,” Maroulis said. “And it’s close to our police department.”

It is an unappealing situation, Council Member Chris Preston said. However, regulations placed by the Federal Communications Commission limit the city’s ability to control or deny such developments.

The motion passed with a 6-0 vote. Council Member Jerry Wyatt was absent.
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


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