Public Hearing for Proposed Katy Cell Phone Tower to Continue at February 10 Council Meeting

By George Slaughter

Attorney Bebb Francis addresses the Katy City Council Monday night at City Hall – George Slaughter photo

After Katy City Council members expressed their concerns Monday night, plans to build a 180-foot cellular telephone tower between two Katy schools are going back for further developer review.

The council voted unanimously to continue a public hearing on the tower, which was to be built at 5364 Franz Road on property owned by the Katy Independent School District and zoned R-1, single-family residential. The site sits between Hutsell Elementary School, 5360 Franz Road, and Katy Junior High School, 5350 Franz Road.

The public hearing will resume at the council’s February 10 meeting at City Hall.

Meanwhile, Ward B Council Member Janet Corte expressed concern about the proposed tower’s location, such as it would be between two schools. Francis and other proponents showed a map displaying other potential locations for the proposed tower, including the nearby Brookshire Brothers grocery store at 5429 Franz Road. In the case of that particular site, proponents said it was not only too far to the east, but could disrupt store traffic.

“I’m just not satisfied that all the options there have been explored,” Corte said.

Meanwhile, Council Member-at-Large Chris Harris expressed concerns about the proposed tower’s height. He asked Bebb Francis, an attorney who was presenting on behalf of the tower’s developer, Eco-Site II, if there was a way the tower could be shortened and still do the job. Eco-Site II is developing the tower on behalf of T-Mobile West.

While the tower was designed to serve T-Mobile customers, it can accommodate up to three other lessees, proponents said.

The city planning and zoning commission voted 6-3 in December to approve the application and forward the matter to the council for its consideration. Opponents of the proposal cited concerns about the tower’s location, security, and possible revenue sharing between the company and the school district.

Other Actions Taken

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Recognized Brenda Mendiola for completing the Level I and Level II Court Clerk’s Certification Program from the Texas Municipal Court Clerk’s Certification Program.

    Brenda Mendiola, center, is honored by Mayor Bill Hastings and Katy Municipal Court Clerk Faviola Rodriguez for completing the Level I and Level II Court Clerk Certification Program – George Slaughter photo

  • Observed a land management update by the Katy Prairie Conservancy.
  • Approved a special use permit for Bethany Worship Center to hold its services at 25311 Kingsland Blvd., Suite 115. The location is zoned in the Katy Mills Planned Development District.
  • Reviewed the city’s bank statement and check register through November 30.
  • Approved minutes for the October 28 and November 21 council meetings.
  • Approved a $564.08 dues payment to the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
  • Approved a $1,500 dues payment to the Highway 36A Coalition.
  • Supported the reappointment of Linda Harnist to the Fort Bend Subsidence District. Her appointment expires January 31, 2022.
  • Approved a final plat for Katy Independent School District junior high 17.
  • Accepted public improvements for sanitary sewer extension along Katy Mills Circle.
  • Approved a request for the city to pay monthly operating costs for 25 streetlights in Cane Island. The request came from Crest Management Company Community Association Manager.
  • Rejected all bids for blower replacement at the city’s wastewater plant and authorized the re-advertisement of bid solicitation. “We believe that the bid prices are unusually high and reflect a lack of interest in this relatively small project by bonded general contractors, compounded by the proximity to the Christmas holidays,” City Engineer David Leyendecker wrote in a note to the council. “We recommend not awarding the contract.”.
  • Authorized a $74,947.37 change order for the Pine Forest drainage project. “This change order adjusts several items from original bid to actual used field quantities,” Costello Engineering Chief Engineer Ralph Saldana wrote in a note to the council. “It also adds new unit pricing for items required in Project 2 due to unanticipated field conditions with existing utilities within Avenue D. It also adds new unit pricing for Project 4 for items necessary to adjust the storm sewer alignment due to utility trenching near the canopy drip line of an existing private tree.”
  • Authorized Mayor Bill Hastings to sign a proposal with Costello Engineering for support services on the Pitts Road Regional Detention Pond Phase II project.
  • Cast a ballot for officers for the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The ballot was for Nancy Arnold, Waller city councilmember, as chair; Phillip Spinrath, Wharton County judge, as chair-elect; and William King III, Dickinson city councilmember, as vice chair.
  • Declared certain property as surplus and authorizing its sale or disposal. Property includes excavator buckets, hand tools, rakes, shovels, a street saw, and four vehicles.
  • Authorized Hastings to sign an amendment to the Congestion Mitigation/Traffic Management Agreement with METRO.
  • Authorized Hastings to sign a change order to the grounds maintenance and mowing agreements with EarthFirst Landscapes. The change order includes clarifications on a right-of-way from Kingsland Boulevard from Main Street to the Buffalo Bayou bridge, which EarthFirst will mow and maintain. The city will now pay $5,999 per month, an increase of $958.25 from the previous monthly rate of $5,040.75, for maintenance and mowing of this and other city properties.