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Illegal cell towers are forbidden in the city

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

Several municipal permits are required to place a cell-phone tower in any area of the city.

However, many clandestine structures have been installed. For that reason, Édgar Bautista, head of the Urban Development Department, said that the local administration will initiate legal proceedings against those who allow these structures to be erected on their property.

Bautista said that in recent months many towers have been put up clandestinely; he said in addition that the companies install them during the weekend when the Urban Development staff does not work. To install a tower in the city, companies must fulfill several requirements (besides those authorizations granted by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation), such as permits from the departments of Civil Protection and Ecology and Environment. After the company gets all the permits, the final decision is made by the city council.

On Sunday, May 19, on calle Stirling Dickinson, the Urban Development Department closed a property where a cell-phone tower was being set up without permission. Later, those responsible tried to obtain authorization from the municipality, but they were denied based on the municipal plan of development.

On September 22 of this year, approximately 30 people participated in a demonstration against the installation of a tower in Atotonilco, in part because the construction of the base caused flooding of some properties.

Bautista commented that the Civil Protection Department has closed and protected the construction site. The General Direction of World Heritage Cities conducted an inspection and will hand over official information to the municipality in order to start a parallel legal process against those responsible, because the structure affects the visual image of the area appointed as a World Heritage site.

Bautista also commented that in San Miguel there are only three authorized areas for erecting towers: cerro de Palo Huérfano, cerro de las Tres Cruces and a small space in colonia Linda Vista. In the months to come, that department will take a census of the towers in town and will sue those who are hosting illegal ones. According to Bautista, currently there are people who rent out their houses, which are not strong enough to withstand the weight of the structures, and these individuals will be sued, not the company.

In the building of the former city hall, prior to the designation as a World Heritage city, per an agreement with the city council, some towers for mobile communication (Iusacel, Nextel and Movistar) were placed on the  roof. The agreement with Movistar expired in May of this year, and Bautista said that it may not be renewed because of a lack of interest on the part of the company, and if that happens then the structure would be removed in the next months.

The director asked for the help of sanmiguelenses to denounce the placing of towers without permits by calling the emergency number (066).


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