CYPRESS, Texas – Many of us have been there when a utility company comes onto our property to access a cable box or lines and wires buried underground. You have to let utility companies have access to the easement. And in one case our KPRC 2 Investigates team is looking into, it’s really David vs. Goliath situation.
Issue: Cellphone tower near my property
It was hard not to notice the commotion right in front of Sunshine G’s property on Telge Road in Cypress. She says the pole is a huge eyesore. Sunshine G started recording video when she realized contractors hired by AT&T were installing a big pole right in front of her property.
“I asked them please not to do that,” explains Sunshine. “That’s gonna be the place of our sign. We paid a lot of money for it, and that’s gonna hurt our business.”
There are no signs here now but Sunshine G says she’s having two of them made to go right on the walls.
They’ll be ready in about a month, directing people to the Mexican food restaurant and this restaurant supply company.
“One is going to go here, the other one is going to go over here, which is going to block our signs,” Sunshine G shows us.
She pleaded her case to AT&T and at first, she said a representative told her he would look into getting the pole moved several feet so it not smack dab in front of the electric sign she’s already paid for. But after several phone calls, AT&T stopped answering.
“We’re a small business, we don’t have a big advertisement, our signs gonna be our advertisement,” she explains.
Not much property owners can do about cell sites
An AT&T representative sent a statement that reads in part:
In short, AT&T says the pole is staying put. We checked with Harris County’s property division. They told us AT&T and other utilities have what’s called statutory authorization from the state to use the public right of way for their equipment. While AT&T could move this pole, they don’t have to do that.
We did confirm AT&T let Harris County know in February that it planned to put the tower there on Telge Road. Sunshine G’s only real recourse to possibly force them to move it would be to sue the company.
Use new poles or towers as evidence of property value decline
If anything, added poles or towers could help you come property tax time. Something else for Sunshine G and for all homeowners to consider, come property tax time, she should absolutely argue that the pole diminishes the value of her property. This can help save money on taxes. Take pictures of the pole from every angle and use it as evidence.