Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weast's Cell Tower Jungle Gym Update 2010

Remember the lucky students at Daly Elementary School in Germantown who got their very own cell tower smack in the middle of their playground? 

Below are some pictures of the Daly cell tower compound up close from October 2010. 

Once again we see that the cell tower compound is not being maintained and that the area around the base of the tower is overgrown. 

Meanwhile, MCPS continues to collect the lease payments for this structure. 


  1. It seems to me that there may be several issues here:

    I read §59-A-6.12 of the Zoning Ordinance to apply to this cell site. It includes the requirement in subsection (c) "…the equipment building or cabinet must be faced with brick or other suitable material on all sides and landscaped to a height of at least 3 feet.”

    Criteria that were approved by the Planning Board are contained in: Mandatory Referral No. 05304-MCPS-1 . This includes the carrier’s commitment to a 6-foot board-on-board wood fence, surrounded by landscaping. I do not see this type of screening of the visual intrusion in the photos.

    The Mandatory Referral contains as an Attachment the MCPS Telecommunications Transmission Facilities Policy. Section C.3. of the Policy states that, "The school system reserves the right, prior to the conclusion of its stated term, to terminate the lease for cause, including lack of adequate maintenance."

    If this carrier has repeatedly fallen down on responsibilities that are so basic and obviously discernible to the community as grounds maintenance then what confidence should the community have in this carrier to uphold its higher-level responsibilities for maintaining the safety of the structure and facility, where the community might only realize the carrier’s lapses after a catastrophic event?

  2. Thank you Sue. I have brought those very items up to MCPS, T-mobile who holds the lease, the BOE and/or the host school itself. As you can see, I don't get very far as no one can even do basic maintenance on this particular cell tower compound. These pictures also don't show a "green" driveway that is nothing but a mud hole and has since been dug up because it was such a wreck (and still is!).
    There will also be no way the host school (Daly), the cluster or MCPS will terminate this lease as it brings in annual revenue for all exceeding 24K every year. The host school itself has received over 40K since the tower has been erected.
    This cell tower lease is up for renewal next August and since MCPS Department of Facilities Management won't hold T-mobile's feet to the fire to do their due diligence, I am sure the same lame lease will go in to effect for another 5 years.
    Oh, and did I mention this tower is slated to acquire another antennae on this tower to the tune of an additional 24K that will be doled out to the host school, the cluster and MCPS?
    Yeah, MCPS pockets the money and then turns the other cheek and this is what the community gets.
    Jennifer Kerchaert

  3. We now have fire department video of a cell tower fire. In the video you can see how important it is to have the base of the tower clear of debris.

    Obviously, in Montgomery County if a cell tower were to catch on fire on a public school site the fire could easily spread to the growth at the base of the tower and beyond. The point of keeping the base clear is to keep away growth in the event of a mishap.

  4. Clearly a hazard that MCPS has even thought of or maybe they have and just don't care as long as they keep receiving payments!
    Thanks Janis.
    Jennifer Kerchaert


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