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! 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.
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).
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.