After waiting several months for word on the future of a proposed cellular tower on the outskirts of Memphis, well over one hundred concerned citizens recently were contacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with an update on the status of the project.
On September 26th, an email from Erica Rosenberg, Assistant Chief, Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the FCC, was received by several parties in Memphis who had filed requests for environmental review of the proposed tower.
The correspondence stated “On September 26, 2019, the Commission’s Deputy Federal Preservation Officer instructed Wireless Investment Partnership (the applicant) to comply with the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process, 47 CFR Pt. 1, Appx. C. Requesters with concerns about effects on historic properties should look for the forthcoming public notice and follow the instructions for submitting comments.”
The information also indicated that hard copies would be mailed to nearly 100 other parties that had addressed concerns about the proposed tower with the FCC.
The information also included correspondence to the applicants for the tower construction from Amanda Murphy, Deputy Federal Preservation Officer, FCC.
Murphy highlighted concerns for Wireless Investment Partnership LLC with its application, particularly based on correspondence from Memphis attorney Kevin Brown, which had drawn attention to numerous inaccuracies, errors and discrepancies in the company’s official application to build the tower on the west edge of Memphis.
Murphy indicated that the FCC had sought and received the project’s Final Cultural Resources report, Form 620 earlier this month.
In a letter to the wireless company, Murphy highlighted several deficiencies as determined by the FCC including concerns with the timing of submissions by the applicant to the Missouri State Historical Preservation Office and subsequent release of information to local government and the public.
Murphy noted that because of this failure, the public did not have adequate time to contact the state historic preservation office with its concerns prior to that office issuing its decision on the application.
As a result, Murphy indicated the tower applicants, in order to meet requirements for consideration of approval to construct the structure, must appropriately notify the public and local government via public notice no later than 15 days prior to resubmitting the request for approval to the state historical preservation office.
“The deficiencies must be remedied by the applicant before an ASR (Antenna Structure Registration) application can be approved, though it is possible additional concerns may arise in response to applicant’s completion of the aforementioned steps,” Murphy stated in her letter. “Please also note that the numerous requests for environmental review remain pending, and the Commission may have additional concerns that applicant will be required to address prior to the granting of its ASR application.”
As a result of the latest information, a local town hall meeting has been scheduled for Thursday October 10th at the Memphis First Baptist Church starting at 7 p.m.
Attorney Kevin Brown and property owner Brent Walker, who have spearheaded efforts to inform the public about the proposed tower construction, will provide updates on this latest information.
“It appears this company made a lot of mistakes in this process of trying to build a tower and the government is holding them accountable,” said Walker. “A lot of hard work went into informing the community about this issue and lots of people stepped up to try to create greater transparency in this process so that we all could have a better understanding of what exactly was going on in our neighborhood, our city and our county.”