On January 27, 2016, Melanie Nichols, president of the North Hill Preservation Association, assisted by Dr. James Scaminaci III, CJ's Street Report, gave a presentation to the Women's Civic Forum, headed by former Pensacola City Council member Diane Mack. Ms. Nichols's presentation, "Floodgate: The Story of the Long Hollow Radio Tower: A neighborhood's struggle to repair a failing storm water retaining pond which uncovered a failing City Hall," was delivered to a packed lunchtime crowd that gave her a standing ovation for her vision, courage, and tenacity.
The Nichols presentation provided Pensacolans unfamiliar with the North Hill and Long Hollow areas an overview of their beauty and charm in terms of parks, homes, and tree-lined streets; the location of the Long Hollow Storm Water Pond and how it fits into the City's "Comprehensive Plan" and future flood control plans; and, the devastation that floods in 2012 and 2014 wreaked on the neighborhoods of North Hill, Long Hollow, and downtown Pensacola.
Scaminaci summarized the numerous City ordinances that the Mayor, his City Administrator Bill Reynolds, his two City attorneys, Inspection Services head Bill Weeks, and Planning Department head Sherry Morris have disregarded in approving construction of Divine Word Radio's 400-foot radio tower inside the storm water pond, as well as defending their own illegal acts and those of Gene Church. Scaminaci charged that the Mayor and his senior staff deliberately misled the City Council in the process of gaining their approval of a lease for Divine Word Radio in May through August 2012.
Gene Church, owner of Divine Word Radio, from the very start of the regulatory process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), deliberately misled the FAA into believing that he was extending the City's existing 250-foot tower to a height of 400-feet, rather than building a new 400-foot radio tower. Had Church told the FAA and the FCC that he was building a new 400-foot tower, he would have had to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historical Preservation Act. By circumventing these two federal laws, Church saved himself several hundred thousand dollars in not performing a required Environmental Assessment and extensive public meetings. Church has misled the FAA, the FCC, his Professional Engineer, his general contractor, and the City.
Nichols has urged the City Council to cancel the City's lease with Divine Word Radio because the City had no legal authority to enter into such a lease, and, even if the lease were valid, Church has violated numerous clauses in the lease including not maintaining a minimum of one million dollars insurance while he illegally constructed an unsafe radio tower; she urges the City Council to remove both towers (new and remnants of the old) as well as the 24,000 feet of copper cabling buried at least eight-feet underground; dredging the extant storm water pond as required by best practices; and, extending and deepening the storm water pond to hold at least an additional estimated 2.3 billion gallons of flood waters.
Below, are the briefing slides and the video talk.
INTRODUCTION, DIANE MACK, PRESIDENT, WOMEN'S CIVIC FORUM
NICHOLS: FLOODGATE: NORTH HILL, LONG HOLLOW, DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA
SCAMINACI: LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE LONG HOLLOW RADIO TOWER