Illegal cell towers to be removed

By Antonio de Jesús Aguado

Alí Patlán, legal coordinator of the local administration, reported that an order to remove illegally installed cell towers in Atotonilco and Colonia San Antonio has been issued, although he made it clear that the process will be gradual.

On September 13, the illegal installation of a cell tower in Atotonilco began. The tower is located within the area appointed as a World Heritage site. According to nearby residents, the municipal authorities did not respond to complaints in a timely fashion, and in order stop the construction of the tower and prevent its future operation more than 150 people tore down a fence made of reeds so the local authorities could get into the area and halt the work. After that, residents camped out in a tent on the street in front of the tower to stop any kind of work on the tower.

Previously, Édgar Bautista, director of the Dirección de Desarrollo Urbano (Urban Development Department), told Atención that the Civil Protection Department inspected the area and closed down the work. The General Director of World Heritage Sites conducted an inspection and the local administration is waiting for some documents to file a criminal complaint, in addition to the existing one, against the company.

A few weeks ago, the Urban Development Department granted a permit to the owners of the land to replace the fence, but according to the protestors they will not let them install it because the so-called owners stole the land, which is federally owned.

Patlán confirmed that the permit for replacing the fence was issued by the department because the owners proved their ownership of the land and said that Desarrollo Urbano has requested information about the land from CONAGUA (National Commission of Water) to ascertain whether the land belongs to the individuals or to the federal government.

The attorney said that the demonstrators did not have the right to take down the fence, because the administration had talked with the owners of the land and they were about to get a permit to enter and halt the construction.

Currently, said Patlán, the owners of the tower have been notified about their lack of permits and they still have a chance to regularize the construction (which now will not be possible). If they do not go to city hall to clear up the matter, a notification to remove the tower will be issued.

In the case of the tower erected in May in Colonia San Antonio, the legal coordinator commented that there are criminal complaints against the owner of the lot and a notification of demolition of the structure has been issued.

Patlán highlighted that the administration must be careful in the process in order to avoid a counterclaim. The attorney also commented that the process to take down the antenna could last years, but the good news is that they cannot operate.

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