No More Ugly Cell Towers

First lets get one thing clear.  We are not against cell towers in general and like everyone else, we want better cell coverage on the Hill.

We are against ugly, highly intrusive cell towers planted in the heart of every neighborhood on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  That is what is planned, and we need your help to stop it.

Crown Castle International is a multi-billion dollar cell tower corporation based in Houston, Texas.  Crown Castle is in the midst of placing 80 cell towers throughout the Peninsula for ATT.  Most are targeted for residential neighborhoods.  Rancho Palos Verdes gets 35,  Palos Verdes Estates gets 24, Rolling Hills gets 8, and Rolling Hills Estates 5.  The remaining 8 are on the edge of PV in Torrance, San Pedro, and Lomita.

Crown Castle and other tower companies have an interesting business model.  They got themselves declared a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in the state of California.  CLECS are telephone companies that have rights to install infrastructure (telephone poles, cables, etc.) within the City-owned Right of Way.  These companies quickly figured out they could use this power to force cities into accepting highly intrusive cell towers in the Right of Way, even if the city was perfectly happy with existing coverage.  These towers are cash cows for Crown Castle, as ATT and other wireless carriers pay rent to use them.  The more towers, the more rent, pretty simple.  Cities that didn’t willingly go along with this scheme often found themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

Palos Verdes Estates was served with such a lawsuit by Sprint when PVE decided it didn’t want these monstrosities within its picturesque neighborhoods.   But a funny thing happened.  In 2009, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that PVE was was perfectly within its right to deny these sites on aesthetic grounds under state law.  It was a landmark victory and a huge setback for an arrogant wireless industry that had grown accustomed to pushing cities around.   All California cities now had the right to deny highly intrusive sites wireless sites within the Right of Way.  Many cities have aggressively asserted this right, some of the most notable are Irvine, San Francisco, Calabasas, and Malibu. Rancho Palos Verdes recently passed an extremely comprehensive wireless ordinance to reign in ugly sites (RPV has many).  These cities all owe PVE a debt of gratitude.

Now back to 2016.  For reasons that have not been explained to residents, PVE no longer seems willing to deny intrusive sites. It’s as if those who are advising the City have forgotten  the hard fought victory in the 9th Circuit.  They’ve forgotten, or worse don’t know, that the court upheld the denial of those ugly intrusive sites.  The court didn’t say the city had to accept them as long as they had a coat of brown paint slapped on them.   The court upheld the denial.

Crown Castle has gotten ten approved by the PVE so far, but now the really egregious sites within neighborhoods are coming through.  Drive around town and take a look at the new mock-ups right in front of people’s homes.  They are atrocious, there is not enough brown paint in the world to pretty up these monstrosities.  It’s illegal to put a trash can in the Right of Way for a few hours, but an out of state corporation can plant this eyesore in front of homes 24/7?  This needs to stop now.

Help us remind the City of Palos Verdes Estates that they can deny these sites (just ask the 9th Circuit).  Please write and email the Planning Commission, The City Council, the City Manager, and the Planning Director. Their contact information can be found here.

Even if it’s not affecting you personally, please do it for the neighbor who may think he or she is in this alone.

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