There’s a battle brewing downtown.

And it’s all about the rooftop of the Chase Bank building, located at 101 N. Beaton St.

Phoon Yew Sang, who resides in Malaysia, purchased the building in 2014. His goal was to restore the property, creating loft apartments, office and event space, and a rooftop for residents to enjoy the views of the city.

But just before the sale was finalized, a rooftop easement was granted to telecommunications service provider Crown Castle by the previous owners, who benefited financially from the agreement.

“On behalf of Mr. Phoon, the owner, and our community, this is a historic building that has been mistreated on the roof,” local resident Raul Jimenez said. “There are several holes on the rooftop. It’s a shame that one of the most precious jewels of this community is being treated this way.”

Phoon claims the roof easement contract was not disclosed to him, and he receives no benefits from the antennae Crown Castle has placed on the roof. Rather, he is required to provide entry by way of elevator to the rooftop so Crown Castle may service the antennae.

According to its website, Crown Castle is the nation’s largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure. The company submitted an application for a special-use permit to the city some time ago for the purpose of adding more antennae to the rooftop, but the application was tabled because the information required by the city is incomplete.

At a June 16 Planning and Zoning meeting, city staff revealed that Crown Castle requested to postpone the process, until it could gather the necessary documents. City staff recommended to the Planning and Zoning Committee the application be denied, adding the company would be eligible to apply again in the future if it so chooses.

But residents who lined up to speak at the Planning and Zoning meeting made their opinions clear. They do not want Crown Castle to add anymore antennae to the historic building.

“Webster’s definition of a building is essentially a box-like shape having a roof and often windows,” resident Joe Brooks said. “How is it that in good faith and trusting the legality of the City of Corsicana and the United States that Mr. Phoon has no say over his roof.”

Local resident Jimmy Hale also addressed the committee, adding that the legal contract entered into between Crown Castle and the previous owners was not accurate.

According to Hale’s testimony, he has seen the contract, which states the building is under 45 years old, the antennas are not visible from the ground, and it does not reside in a historic district, all of which Hale argues is not true.

The bank has a historical marker which states the building was constructed in 1926 and the Texas Historical Commission’s website shows the bank’s marker number to be 11639.

The Planning and Zoning Committee plans to refer the matter to City Attorney, Kerri Donica, for review and advisement on how the city should proceed.

Committee member Ned Polk reminded all in attendance that the committee’s authority only goes so far and it cannot make legal decisions. At the conclusion of the meeting, Crown Castle’s current application for a special-use permit was denied.

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