The Palos Verdes Estates Planning Commission denied another residential neighborhood cell tower at the November 15th Planning Commission hearing. This is the second residential neighborhood site the PC has denied, both on unanimous votes. We could not be prouder of the Commission.
Unlike the city’s advisors, the Commissioners live in our community and will be stuck with these highly intrusive cell towers. Critically, they no longer believe claims that they must accept these sites.
A tranquil residential neighborhood in Palos Verdes Estates (Chelsea and Yarmouth). The perfect place to put an intrusive cell tower and equipment cabinet according to Crown Castle. Fortunately, the Planning Commission said no. Note there is an existing AT&T macro site only 1400 feet away at Lunada Bay Plaza.
It was a long time in coming, some context is warranted.
What Crown Castle is up to
Crown Castle is attempting to place intrusive cell towers in the heart of every neighborhood in Palos Verdes, nearly 80 sites in all. Despite all their lofty claims of serving the public, their motivation is economic profit. As we documented here, their sponsoring wireless carrier (AT&T Mobility) wants to sell very expensive wireless data plans in our community. To do that, they need more extensive infrastructure. Crown Castle’s role is to convince our community into accepting the cheapest possible deployment that gives AT&T a competitive advantage.
Crown Castle’s plan to put 80 cell towers across the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Most are located within residential neighborhoods. Note the close proximity, some sites are only 500 feet apart.
Why Palos Verdes? To quote Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks, “because that’s where the money is”. Crown Castle isn’t placing these in every neighborhood in Carson, Wilmington, Gardena, or other less affluent communities. Make no mistake, we’ve been targeted and selected. AT&T Mobility has staked out Palos Verdes as their turf, Crown Castle is the hired muscle, and we are supposed to roll over and welcome these highly intrusive installations into our neighborhoods. This is the 5G future they insist, there is no stopping it, and we have no choice but to accept it.
No one bothered to ask residents what they thought about all this. They sorely misjudged our understanding of the law, our technical knowledge, and our resolve. Not to mention we don’t give a damn about Crown Castle’s profitability, promises they’ve made to AT&T, or their highly questionable business model. We care about our community.
Crown Castle has trotted out every trick in the book to convince Palos Verdes cities that they had no choice but to approve these sites. Fortunately Crown Castle’s playbook is superficial, once you understand the game plan it’s much easier to fight them. It’s doesn’t help their cause that virtually every one of their experts and subcontractors looks to be the lowest bidder who seem to have a really hard time explaining their actions. Their book of tricks is a mile wide but only an inch deep. Once the spell is broken, the illusion of inevitability falls apart.
Palos Verdes Estates now gets this. Crown Castle’s plan was to carve the Peninsula up into a big grid and plop highly intrusive cell towers into the middle of each square with little regard for neighborhood aesthetics or adjacent home values. They had City staff buffaloed into believing they couldn’t be stopped. The City’s advisor had a long list of things the city supposedly wasn’t allowed to do but was conspicuously quiet regarding Crown Castle’s behavior. It was strongly implied the city couldn’t deny sites but could only require adjustments to their appearance.
The entire premise of “significant gap” was to be preemptively surrendered despite the fact it protects the city and its residents (i.e. “significant gap” means a city can deny a cell tower if it is not required to close a significant gap in service.) If Crown Castle claimed they didn’t have good enough coverage then that was it, they were entitled to a new cell tower. There would be no challenge of significant gap, end of story. Or so we were told. As we’ve now made plainly clear, that isn’t what the law says.
Thank God the Commissioners live in our community and were willing to listen to us rather than following the word of outside advisors.