Cell Tower Update: First Public Hearings in RPV start July 25th

Things had been relatively quiet on the cell tower front in Palos Verdes but all that changed about a month ago.  Here we go folks, things are going to get exciting…

As you may have heard, Crown Castle’s AT&T cell towers will soon start public hearings in Rancho Palos Verdes. This will be the first time these sites have had public hearings in RPV as previously they were approved by City Hall without hearings. These hearings are now required under the RPV municipal code as a way to ensure transparency and public involvement in the approval process.

Crown Castle is still proposing the overwhelming majority of these sites in residential neighborhoods despite these locations violating section 12.18.200 of the RPV code. Perhaps you’ve seen the mock-ups in your neighborhood. Every one of these sites violates at least one aspect of RPV’s wireless ordinance and will require an exception to be approved.  Despite this, Crown Castle insisted on going forward with these site designs  and locations to public hearings.  They really don’t care about our community.  They are however, pretty sure they are going to make a pile of money here.

ASG33_6800_Chartres_phot_sim

Photo simulation of a proposed residential neighborhood site on Chartres Drive In Rancho Palos Verdes.  The site violates multiple aspects of the RPV municipal code and will require numerous exemptions for approval.  

The first two sites will be heard by the Planning Commission on Tuesday July 25th starting at 7 PM at the Hesse Park Community room. Anyone can address the Commission either during non-agenda public comments (for sites that aren’t on that night’s agenda) or during the hearing itself for sites being heard that night.

Two sites are slated for hearings:

  • ASG 10: Los Verdes Drive west of Avenida Classica: This installation proposes to replace an existing streetlight with a new streetlight hosting two antenna panels.        It also includes a large above ground equipment cabinet. This location is a local street situated between apartments to the east and the golf course to the west
  • ASG 33: Across from 6480 Chartres Drive: This installation proposes a new 14 foot pole with antennas where no pole currently exists. It also includes a large above ground equipment cabinet. The location is a residential neighborhood with five homes in close proximity, one home is only about 30 feet away.

This hearing will set the tone for future hearings so please try to attend if you have an interest in this issue. Anyone can speak, even if it’s not in your neighborhood.

Please keep in mind that under federal law, the City cannot deny these sites based on health concerns regarding RF emissions.  The Commissioners will have to disregard comments regarding health effects and can’t use it when making their decision.  Time is better spent on other issues.

The Commission can consider aesthetic impact, neighborhood compatibility, impact on home values, and noise levels from the equipment.

By the way, these sites can be quite noisy as they include two large cooling fans that run 24/7. There is an identical equipment cabinet already installed on the east side of Crenshaw south of Crest next to St. John Fisher Church. You can stop by and hear for yourself just how loud these will be if your neighborhood is planned for one of these sites. Also, the fans get louder as the temperature increases as they run faster.

installed_cabinet

Look for the cabinet on the lower right in front of Saint John Fisher on Crenshaw.  Stop by and listen to it on a hot day, it is LOUD.  This is the exact same installation Crown Castle wants to install in our quiet residential neighborhoods.  

We’ll keep this site updated with future hearing dates as they become available.

 

New and Improved Website Address!

With the recent spike in site traffic, we went ahead and took the plunge.  This site can now be reached by simply typing:

nouglytowers.com

We’ve also added the site address to the upper right hand corner of the website banner to help make it easy to remember.

Our original website address (nouglytowers.wordpress.com) will still work just fine so existing bookmarks or links to pages will still get you here.  Thanks for visiting!

The purpose of this site

Featured

(This post is pinned to the top of the page, please see below for new articles.)

We are not against cell towers in general and like everyone else, we would like better wireless coverage in Palos Verdes.  We are against ugly, highly intrusive cell towers planted in the heart of every neighborhood in our community.  We will not tolerate the cheap, quick, and dirty “solutions” the cell tower installers have gotten away with in the past.  No more unsightly tower designs, poor workmanship, or invasive residential locations.   This is our community, we insist they respect it.

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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