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.

Crown Castle’s Bad Plan for Palos Verdes (part 1)

This is the first of of two part series that details our objections to Crown Castle’s proposed cell tower deployment in Palos Verdes.  This post will focus on the installations and locations themselves.  Part 2 will dig into Crown Castle’s behavior and tactics in trying to get these cell towers approved.

Are we NIMBYs?

We’ve been very critical of Crown Castle’s plan to place about 60 poorly-designed and highly intrusive cell towers throughout Palos Verdes.  We’ve also raised objections to proposed invasive residential neighborhood locations without any real justification.  We’ve received solid support from the community.  We’ve also received positive feedback from others outside Palos Verdes interested in our fight.

Of course you can’t please everyone, and we’ve heard from a few scattered critics.  The complaints seem shallow and uninformed, without a much substance and a dose of name-calling thrown in for good measure.

nimby

NIMBY!  The invective is often used to denigrate those who raise legitimate questions regarding an ill-conceived project.  It’s usually intended as a derogatory insult without having to do the hard work of actually rebutting the points raised.

Rather than let others characterize our motivation, we’ll save them the trouble and set the record straight.  Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve seen and documented regarding the cell tower situation in Palos Verdes.  We think it’s unacceptable, and the more people know about it, the better.  If that makes us NIMBY’s then so be it.

Ugly, cheap designs with no regard for our community’s aesthetics

Most of Crown Castle’s proposed sites for Rancho Palos Verdes wouldn’t pass muster in an industrial zone, yet they are being shamelessly proposed for our beautiful residential community.

crown castle ugly cell tower

Residential streetlight installations call out two antenna panels, each over six square feet in size (50” tall by 19” wide).  They are highly intrusive and don’t come close to matching the architectural character of our neighborhoods.  Comparable deployments in other cities somehow manage to use antennas one-third this size.  Crown Castle has provided no justification for the huge antenna panels.

Ugly pole mounted equipment is proposed throughout RPV, despite the fact our new wireless ordinance requires such equipment be located in underground vaults.  The smallest boxes are 9” wide by  9” deep, being bigger than the 7″ diameter streetlight pole.  The equipment extends 12 feet up the pole.  It also include an industrial-sized electric meter and breaker box also mounted to the streetlight pole. A 2.5″ wide electrical conduit will run externally to the electric meter.  Top it off with two exhaust fans that run 24/7.

(upper right) Crown Castle cell tower partly installed on Silver Spur Drive.  The same design is proposed for residential neighborhood streetlights but with even larger antennas!  These antennas are 49″ by 12″, more recent submissions include antennas that are 50″ by 19″, more than 50% bigger than shown here.

Are these guys for real?  Did they really think peninsula residents would accept this?  Based on RPV’s past history of rubber-stamping these sites they probably thought they could get away with it.  Not any more

Highly invasive residential neighborhood locations

We think we’re safe in saying that few people would willingly accept a for-profit telecommunication facility right next to their home unless they are making money off it themselves.  Yet the majority of Crown Castle’s cell towers are proposed for residential neighborhoods.  Of course residents won’t be getting a dime.  Unfortunate residents will however, be stuck with an ugly and highly intrusive commercial cell tower next to their home for at least ten years (the legal minimum permit duration).

cell tower next to homes

A Sprint installation on Monero Drive in RPV.  The new normal if Crown Castle gets their way.

Not only will nearby residents not be compensated, but property values will almost certainly drop.  There is a significant portion of home buyers that will not consider a house next to a cell tower.  Simple supply and demand tells us that with fewer willing buyers, home prices go down.  Consider the financial impact of an entirely realistic 5% decrease in your home’s value.  Now consider it’s happening only because a multi-billion dollar corporation with no stake in our community wanted to save a few bucks.

Continue reading

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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