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Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:55:39 AM »
Landlocked School
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:54:32 AM »
Fall Zone Engineering Letter
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:53:18 AM »
Environmental Request
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:52:05 AM »
Classification of Tower Structures
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:50:44 AM »
Cellular South vs Germantown Expert Letter
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:46:43 AM »
Attractive Nuisance Expert Letter
Our Schools / Re: Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 26, 2020, 09:43:19 AM »
Documents that show the 148' proposed tower height
Our Schools / Opposition letter to cell tower at Dogwood Elementary
« Last post by administrator on April 22, 2020, 10:41:32 AM »
Thank you Dean Massey for always keeping residents informed with facts!

Massey for Germantown
18 hrs ·
In addition to the letter I copied and pasted below, members of the group that wrote the letter also provided the mayor and aldermen with a 138 page memo of opposition laying out the case for aldermen to oppose a new cell tower being erected at Dogwood Elementary School.

Germantown moms, dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, grandmothers and grandfathers, please do not be fooled by slick politicians acting as the mouthpieces for technology companies and deceptively regurgitating parts of legal cases that support their positions without disclosing parts of those legal cases and others that support the opposition's case against the cell tower.

The reality is the mayor accepted thousands of dollars in campaign donations during the last mayoral race, and he has used his administration to push through their agenda with the help of his puppet aldermen.

Campaign Against Dogwood Cell Tower
Germantown, TN

City of Germantown
1930 South Germantown Road
Germantown, TN 38138
Board of Mayor and Alderman:

This letter is to express our opposition to the 148-foot monopine cell tower proposed for the campus of Dogwood Elementary School. Our group is comprised of concerned citizens, Dogwood parents, donors, advisers, and local business owners that have an eighteen-month history of fighting the construction of a commercial utility on GMSD property by Tower Ventures. Recently, group members gathered almost 500 signatures from concerned Germantown citizens and neighbors who do not want this proposal to move forward (see attached petition). The applicant of this proposal would have you believe that this tower and this location is necessary to make calls on cell networks, specifically T-Mobile. However, members from our group have supplied substantial written evidence that proves successful T-Mobile calls can be made from every location that Tower Ventures claims is not served (see attached PowerPoint presentation).

In addition to not seeing a gap in coverage, our concerns about the current location include safety, code discrepancies, a pending FCC Environmental Assessment, and growing opposition within the Dogwood community to changing the use of the land.

Please review the following documents and provided attachments that detail our reasons why we are asking you to vote “no” on this project or delay the vote until the city resumes its standard public meetings.

No Cellular South Precedent
At every meeting that this proposal has been discussed, the loss of case of Cellular South v. Germantown has been presented as a reason that the tower and its location cannot be denied by the city. Our legal counsel has reviewed the case of Cellular South v. Germantown and has determined that the primary reason that the City of Germantown lost this case is because the city essentially did nothing to defend itself against the suit (see attached Cell South letter). If the City of Germantown deems that this location is not suitable, there are ample legal grounds to stand upon to defend this position that are well within the bounds of the Wireless Telecommunications Act of 1996 (see Opposition Memo attached).

Installing a cell tower in such close proximity to a playground/recess field is unprecedented in Germantown. The cell towers at OLPH, Madonna Learning Center, and Cameron Brown are away from areas where large groups of children
recess. This proposed tower is on top of a nature trail in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Therefore, the tower and associated enclosure are classified as an attractive nuisance. This legal theory dictates that the tower is a safety hazard that will attract children and the tower company as well as the school district can be held liable for injuries and damages (see Attractive Nuisance Letter attached). A real life example occurred just a few months ago when a few Germantown kids used their creativity to climb onto the roof of Dogwood Elementary. Despite what the applicant has designed for this enclosure, children will be drawn to it, they will climb it, and the City of Germantown will ultimately be held liable for injuries. It is your job as city administrators to put distance between structures classified as an attractive
nuisance and children. If this project is approved, the largest attractive nuisance in the City will be erected 180 feet away from an elementary school, 35 feet away from a fixed playground, and in a tree line that is highly traveled by hundreds of children daily.

Tower Ventures has claimed that the school secretary will be the person responsible for the key that will unlock the bollards to gain access to the enclosure. What happens when school is not in session? Has the school district been made aware that they would be responsible for this? Will each person that comes to maintain the tower be required to come into the school for verification? Will each maintainer have the appropriate background check to be allowed on school property? These questions are legitimate safety concerns for Dogwood parents and have in no way been answered to our satisfaction. While the city and school board may be thinking who will be held liable should something happen, parents are asking why would we open up our school to unnecessary risk by allowing a commercial utility access to our building and campus.

As referenced earlier, the T-Mobile Cell Coverage Powerpoint presentation refutes the claims over safety issues for citizens access to first responders. In addition, an emergency call will be picked up by any cellular carrier (not just the one subscribed to) and beginning February 24th 2020, Germantown was included in Shelby County’s ability to text 911 emergency calls.

Code Discrepancies
This proposed project has been granted many waivers and variances from Germantown code during the approval process, many of which were approved before the proposed cell tower was brought to the attention of our Dogwood School community. However, the following discrepancies have not been addressed during this process and are still outstanding:
According to Germantown Code Sec 23-86 the definition of tower is “the base of any wireless transmission facility including, but not limited to, a self supporting tower and/or monopole, together with any antennae or other appurtenances.” The code continues and states, “maximum tower height shall be 140 feet.” According to the tower license application submitted by Tower Ventures, the “overall height above ground” of the proposed monopine tower is
45.1m or 147’ 11.6” (see attached FCC License Application).

Furthermore, a public notice delivered to nearby residents
stated that the applicant is “proposing to build an unmarked 148-foot Monopole Telecommunications Tower” (see attached Public Notice). Every document that Tower Ventures has submitted to the City of Germantown has shown a
140-foot tower. However, documents between Tower Ventures and outside agencies clearly show that a 148-foot tower is being built. They have purposefully misled the city and the public to believe they are in compliance with local codes. As proposed, Germantown Code does not allow this tower. Sec 23-86 also addresses setback requirements for the tower. The minimum setback is tower height plus ten feet, unless an applicant’s engineer can attest otherwise. Tower Venture’s engineering letter supports a 25’ fall zone. However, this fall zone is only applicable to the tower itself and not anything that is attached to the tower (i.e. fake tree limbs, antennae). The engineering letter states, “It is difficult to impossible to predict the behavior of a falling structure” and “Nonstructural
components attached to the steel structure are outside our scope” (see attached Engineering Letter). So the tower itself has a reduced fall zone, however, the analysis does not apply to anything but the steel tower.

The same code section continues and addresses structural requirements. The applicant is required to supply the planning commission with “written certification from a registered structural engineer that the tower is able to minimally withstand winds of 70 miles per hour with one-half-inch radial ice, as per ANSI standards, and/or 100 miles per hour and or 130 mph gusts, whichever is greater.” The engineering letter that was supplied by the applicant only went to a maximum wind speed of 115 mph and used the ASCE standards instead of the ANSI standards (see attached Engineering Letter). When the Planning Commission met and approved this proposal, they failed to address this topic. This application should not have advanced past the PC stage of approval.

Furthermore, in the same engineering letter the tower is defined as a Class II Structure. Here is the engineering definition of a Class II Structure: Structures that due to height, use or location, represent a significant hazard to human life and/or damage to property in the event of failure and/or used for services that may be provided by other means (see attached Classification of Tower Structures). This does not sound like something that should be located in a cramped space surrounded by a school, park, and residences.

To be completely clear, if this proposal is approved, the Germantown BMA will be giving a green light to erect a tower that is 8’ taller that the city code allows, that has had its fall zone reduced by 82% by an engineer that does not account for anything being attached to the tower, that does not comply with a maximum wind speed of 130 mph as per city code, and that has been identified as representing a significant hazard to human life in the event of a failure. Our group understands
the need for additional towers in our community but this is not the right location.

FCC Environmental Assessment
Prior to a building permit being authorized for this proposal and construction beginning, the FCC is required to approve and license this tower and its location. On March 24, 2020, this approval process was sidelined pending a request by the public for an Environmental Assessment on the impact of the proposed tower site. Over 200 pages of documentation and many hours of video footage were submitted to the FCC, including expert analysis, indicating that this site is
environmentally sensitive and will require a full Environmental Assessment prior to approval (see attached Environmental Request and Opposition Reply referencing FCC File # A1152058). Of particular note, a tree that has been marked for removal by Tower Ventures has been identified as a habitat for two species of endangered bats. This documentation is now sitting with a review committee at the FCC and will possibly take months even to determine if an Environmental Assessment is required for this site. If it is determined that an assessment needs to be accomplished, that process could take several more months. We ask that you delay any action on this application in order for the authorities to determine if it is even feasible to put this tower in the proposed location.

Issues to Consider
The current Germantown administration is moving forward during a time with limited public involvement. This controversial issue warrants an executive work session, open meetings, and unencumbered public access. What is the
rush in voting on a commercial land use agreement that is not time sensitive while the public is weathering a pandemic in lockdown? Every opportunity should be afforded for citizens to be heard on these critical land use issues that will have
implications for everyone. Your constituents did not have an opportunity to be heard during the April 13th BMA Meeting and, even if technology allows, the discourse will not be complete on the April 27th BMA without the public in
attendance. The licensing at the federal level is still pending and will likely take months to process due to the environmental implications. We ask that the administration take this time to allow your voting citizens to be in attendance
when city hall meetings can convene as intended.

This proposed tower, its utility easement, oversized required enclosure and asphalt service drive will significantly impact any future developments of Dogwood Elementary. Since the city of Germantown has adopted the Smart Growth Development Plan, this includes protecting green space parks plus adding residences for families that could attend GMSD schools. Dogwood Elementary has been the same footprint since 1977 and is overdue for an expansion to bring it into the 21st century, but the proposed tower location, the utility easement, and service drive would land-lock the school by greatly limiting any future construction projects (see Landlocked School attached).

Our request is that this application to build at 148-foot tower on a cramped plot of land surrounded by an elementary school, playground, public park, and residences be delayed until citizens can exercise their right to be heard in an
unencumbered manner once the stay-at-home orders are lifted and the public is allowed to gather once again. If this cannot be granted, we ask that you vote “no” for the following reasons:

• Germantown city code does not allow towers over 140 feet above ground level. Tower Ventures is planning to build at 148-foot tower (see FCC Application and Public Notice).
• Tower Ventures has communicated with outside agencies that they are planning to build a 148-foot tower but every document submitted to the City of Germantown shows plans for a 140-foot tower (see attached screenshots).
• The engineering analysis Tower Ventures submitted to decrease the fall zone requirement by 82% uses lower top wind speeds than required by local code and the analysis does not apply to antennae and other attachments to the
tower (see Fall Zone Engineering Letter).
• The FCC application that Tower Ventures submitted on 1/15/20 is still not approved and is pending an environmental review that has not been started (see Environmental Request). This application is required to be approved before any building permit can be issued.
• A tree that Tower Ventures will cut down if this project is approved has been identified as an ideal habitat for two species of endangered bats (see Environmental Request).
• This structure, if approved, is recognized by the State of Tennessee as an attractive nuisance. The city will be held liable for any injuries that take place on or around this structure (see Attractive Nuisance Expert Letter).
• The issue of how to admit, control, and supervise individuals maintaining the site on school grounds has not been addressed.
• Tower Ventures claims that cellular calls cannot be made on the T-Mobile network in this area. Substantial written and video documentation has been submitted with this document to show successful T-Mobile calls being
completed within this area (see PowerPoint presentation).
• The citizens of Germantown were already denied a chance to speak to this upcoming issue during the BMA on April 13, 2020.
• If this project is approved, the tower site, access drive, and utility easement will prevent most any future development at Dogwood Elementary (see Landlocked School).
• The previously cited case of Cellular South v. The City of Germantown does not serve as precedent in this case because the city did not defend itself or present any defense in the case (see Cell South Expert Letter).
• Contrary to what has been said at previous meetings, the City of Germantown does have they authority to deny this proposal and be in compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (see Opposition Memo).

We understand that this is a large amount of information but this is a complex issue that potentially involves every citizen of Germantown if this case is used as a precedent for future projects. Because of the gravity of this issue, we request that the application submitted by Tower Ventures be put on hold until the public can be a part of this process unhindered. If this cannot be granted, we ask that you vote “no” for the reasons stated above and proven by the attached documentation.


Campaign Against Dogwood Cell Tower
Here is a video of Thom Reilly explaining what happened in Bells CA and how it happened. Many lessons for Germantown residents here:
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