UPDATE JULY 22, 2015: The City has doubled-down on its efforts to cut a special deal for wireless giant T-Mobile, and T-Mobile’s cell-tower business partner, Independent Towers. The three of them are rushing full-speed ahead with their plan to ignore the City’s land use codes and permitting processes, and lease out one-third of the park and construct a permanent 80-foot cell tower and huge cement equipment bunker in the middle of Fairweather Park’s grassy playfield, which by law could then open the park to multiple towers, forever ruining the park. If the City, motivated by money, won’t defend its codes and permitting processes and protect Fairweather Park, then the other City codes, permitting processes and City parks and natural areas should be considered at risk, as well.
It’s not too late to get it right and keep industrial cell towers out of Medina’s Parks. The City’s hearing examiner has rejected, twice (once on the facts and once on appeal), the City and T-Mobile’s cell-tower plan, and hundreds of Medina residents have opposed the plan, as well. We are now in federal court with the City but Medina residents are the only ones fighting to protect Medina’s parks. When wireless giant T-Mobile sued the City, claiming that the City’s hearing examiner’s decisions violated federal law, the City denied the allegations, but since then the City has failed to conduct any discovery or otherwise take any substantive steps to defend itself. In fact, records show that immediately after Medina residents filed to intervene in the lawsuit (because of our concerns, acknowledged by the judge, that, because of the City's financial conflicts of interest, the City may not vigorously defend against the lawsuit and protect Medina’s parks), the City quietly agreed, behind the backs of Medina residents, on a Machiavellian plan to “settle” the lawsuit by asking the judge to rubber-stamp the City's original cell-tower plan that was rejected, twice, by the City’s Hearing Examiner.
Our attorneys are back in court to challenge the City’s “settlement agreement” that would ruin Fairweather Park! Under the “settlement agreement” among the City, T-Mobile and the cell-tower landlord, the City, motivated by money, has asked the judge to order the City to do what the City has, based on our review of available records, quietly wanted to do since 2010 but couldn’t do without a judicial order: ignore the City’s land use codes and permitting processes, and, in an otherwise illegal grant of special privilege, issue the permits for the original cell-tower plan that was twice rejected by the City’s hearing examiner and strongly opposed by hundreds of Medina residents. Medina residents and RespectMedina are fighting back. We’ve filed a motion to oppose their “settlement agreement”, and we should hear from the judge in the next few days. We’ve hired one of the nation’s best environmental litigators, David Bricklin, to defend our community and our parks, and we are confident in his ability to go toe-to-toe against the wireless litigators, and the City, and win.