Case of the cell tower in Atotonilco continues
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
A cell tower located in Atotonilco was erected without the necessary local permits, and for that reason several local residents are urging the local government to remove the structure and force the company to respect the World Heritage area, and they invite sanmiguelenses to become involved in what is happening there. The activists also said that the so-called owners of the land are thieves, because they stole the property.
The installation for a tower of that type does not need a space bigger than 5 °— 5 meters. The companies pay the owners a yearly fee of 120,000 pesos, as two people from San Marcos de Begoña and Don Diego confirmed.
Currently, the activists at Atotonilco are camping out all day and night in front of the property where the tower was installed. They said that this is to block the entrance of all those who want to keep working on the tower. They are against the tower, according to residents, because it can cause health problems and also because it visually affects the area appointed as a World Heritage site.
A group against the cell tower has been formed and, although she is not the representative, because no one has been named, Gudelia Llamas talked on behalf those against the antenna. She commentated that the company started erecting the tower at 2am on September 13. Residents called the Civil Protection Department; members of that office visited the site but said that halting the construction of the facilities was the responsibility of the Urban Development Department, so they would pass on the report.
Seven days later, on Saturday 21, residents were still concerned because the company kept working and the authorities did not do anything.
According to Llamas they called the Civil Protection Department multiple times but were told that no one from that department could do anything, and suggested she send a request to the Urban Development (Desarrollo Urbano) Department to take down the tower. The same day, in the afternoon, a representative from Desarrollo Urbano visited the property and met with the man responsible for installing the tower, who responded that they would continue to work without the permits and pay the fines later. Hearing this exchange, local residents became more angry. The inspector left a document with the builder of the tower, directing him to rectify the situation at city hall within three days.
Later the same day, when residents saw that a truck from the Federal Commission of Electricity had arrived to install the electrical connection for the tower, they began to destroy a fence made of reeds so the local authorities could halt the work. That was how they attracted the attention of the departments of Civil Protection, Ecology, Public Security and Urban Development, which finally canceled the construction.
Residents of the area commented that the land where the cell tower was placed had been stolen by the current owners and is actually federal land, so they will try to reintegrate that space to the federal government and take out the tower. They also commented that the current owners of the land blocked an area of the river, which now causes flooding of some properties.
Atención tried to talk with the owners of the land, who said, “We are not interested in talking, we are busy.”
The Urban Development Department granted a permit to the owners to reinstall the fence, but neighbors opposed it. Atención requested an interview with the director of Urban Development.