On January 21, 2015, U.S. District Judge Lasnik granted RespectMedina and Medina residents' motion to intervene and help defend Fairweather Park against T-Mobile's lawsuit, the third important victory for our pro-park, pro-technology community coalition.
In the lawsuit, T-Mobile is suing to overturn the City's hearing examiner's denial in 2014 of an application by T-Mobile and its affiliate to construct and operate a permanent and illegitimate 80-foot cell tower complex in the grassy playfield at the City's Fairweather Park & Nature Preserve.
In granting us a seat at the table, the Court acknowledged that RespectMedina and Medina residents have a right to save and protect the City's parks and natural spaces. The Court also noted our significant interest in defending the City's hearing examiner's prior denial of T-Mobile's cell tower application, the result we vigorously advocated for and helped bring about last summer.
In the current situation, the City has competing roles. On the one hand, the City is the landlord to T-Mobile and its affiliate, and the cell tower permit applicant (T-Mobile's affiliate, Independent Towers, submitted the permit application as "agent" for the City, as landowner of the parkland). On the other hand, the City is a regulatory authority charged with ensuring compliance with the City's important land use and environmental laws.
A coalition of Medina organizations and residents moved to intervene in this lawsuit because we recognized early on that the interests of City as landlord and permit applicant are aligned with the interests of T-Mobile and its affiliates, and are diametrically opposed to the interests of City as regulatory authority and the interests of Medina residents as pro-park, pro-technology advocates:
- If T-Mobile wins its lawsuit, then the City, as landlord, will also win, because it will receive rental income of at least $30,000 a year for up to 20 years; and,
- If the City, as regulatory authority, vigorously defends the lawsuit and T-Mobile loses its lawsuit, then the City, as landlord, will likewise also lose, because it will lose the rental income from T-Mobile.
Thankfully, the Court granted Medina Residents' motion.
Because of the Court's recognition of our vital interest in upholding Medina's laws, RespectMedina and Medina residents now look forward to working with the City to help defend the CIty's law and the well-reasoned decision of the City's hearing examiner in denying the T-Mobile permit, and to assist the City in fulfilling its public trust obligation, which to hold in trust, for the public, the City's parks and natural areas, for now and future generations.
Thanks to each of you for supporting of our goals of forever stewardship of our community.