Tag Archives: cell tower

Cell tower again raises neighbors’ ire | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

Cell tower again raises neighbors’ ire More trees will go up around tower in San Elijo Hills By Teri Figueroa

 A cellular tower in the San Elijo neighborhood that has run afoul of city rules landed briefly in the spotlight again this week when the San Marcos City Council renewed its permit — but not before adding conditions and blasting the operator for past missteps.With the permit in hand, Crown Castle International Corp. can fix up a fading faux tree near the tower and continue operating there for another decade.But in strong language at Tuesday’s meeting, the council demanded some extras from the company, including an annual report regarding the amount of radio frequency emissions from the tower. The company also must add more real trees to help shield the fake tree from view, and city staffers must inspect the site each year.The finger-wagging highlighted tensions between cell tower providers and the people who live nearby.The San Elijo tower is on the same agriculturally zoned property where neighbors revolted in 2013 after learning a second tower was planned at the edge of the land that abutted their subdivision. That months-long battle made headlines and led the city to rewrite the rules for how many towers it would allow on a single property, eventually limiting the total to three. The City Council approved the second tower at the property in 2014, though the structure has yet to be built. Residents had unsuccessfully argued that cell towers be kept at least 100 feet from a property line. Many cited fears that the devices could emit harmful radiation, but — with little evidence to support those claims — federal law prohibits cities from considering such concerns. Cities can consider aesthetics, however, when deciding where the towers should be allowed.Fast forward to last fall, when a couple of neighbors who spearheaded that earlier battle asked San Marcos to refuse to renew the permit for the first tower, arguing the company had failed to meet previous conditions.They said a faux tree designed to mask the structure had deteriorated, and there were no other trees around to block their view of the tower.That cell tower was first approved in 2008 under five-year permit granted to T-Mobile. In fall 2012, Crown Castle spent $2.4 billion to acquire the rights to some 7,200 T-Mobile cell towers, including the San Elijo site.A few months later, in spring 2013, the San Elijo permit expired and Crown Castle failed to renew it — leading the city to eventually file civil litigation to get the company to comply. During that same time, the city also noticed that the fake tree hiding the cell tower had deteriorated, and demanded that it be fixed. After filing five incomplete applications for renewal, the company eventually provided the right information to the city, and the Planning Commission OK’d the new permit last fall. The city dismissed the suit, and Crown Castle paid the city $6,500 for its trouble. But neighboring homeowners appealed to the City Council, asking the panel to review the permit decision. The council heard that appeal on Tuesday. Councilman Chris Orlando made note of the legal clash before casting the sole vote against renewing the permit.“From my view, you haven’t been a good participant, and you haven’t followed your (permit provisions) that existed before,” Orlando said before his vote. He later added, “I am suspect that you will comply with them … or that we will be able to make you comply with them.”Councilwoman Kristal Jabara told the company representative that she understood that the company had acquired a large number of towers, but “this is what you do for a living, day in and day out.”“We do have a level of discomfort here,” she said, “and we are hearing a lot of excuses as to why it (permit renewal) wasn’t done properly.” John Dohm, a zoning manager for Crown Castle, told the council the company wasn’t making excuses, and had not shirked responsibility. He told the panel that no one was “sitting on their hands,” but rather the renewal process “just took a really long time.” teri.figueroa@sduniontribune.com

Source: Cell tower again raises neighbors’ ire | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com


San Marcos Cell Tower Ordinance – Guest Post

Here is a guest post from a concerned group of San Elijo Hills residents. Note some residents may have also received a door flyer that was pro tower and improved cell coverage. Please share your thoughts and ideas and mark your calendars for San Marcos City Cell Tower Ordinance Workshop- April 2, 2014, 6:00 at the San Marcos City Hall. San Elijo Life

Coming to a neighborhood near you (San Elijo Hills) Bigger, Badder MACRO CELL TOWERS?

The City of San Marcos has notified “some” San Elijo Hills residents of a Public Workshop on April 2 to present a proposed revised Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (Cell Tower) Ordinance.  This is not about your cell phone coverage but is about the City permitting additional “macro cell towers” in our community.

This revised Ordinance will control all cell towers in San Marcos and San Elijo Hills including distance to our homes and schools, size, height, number of cell towers per site, and number of carriers per tower.

Using the current Ordinance, the City has not rejected a single cell tower in the last five years.  Even Mayor Desmond, who recently voted to approve another macro tower in SEH, told the Union Tribune “We’ve got nothing right now” when asked about the current Ordinance.

San Elijo residents on Orion Way, Antilla Way and Hollobrook learned first-hand how weak the current Ordinance is when the City Council approved a “second” 35 foot tower just 350 ft. from their homes. These residents have now been left with no choice but to fight this AT&T cell tower through expensive litigation.

If San Elijo Hills residents insist on a responsible Cell Tower Ordinance, we may keep the City from renewing a T-Mobile macro cell tower and adding a third or fourth such tower to this site or other places around us.

Residents believe everyone should have cell service but it should be responsible and fit within our community character.  The technology exists, macro cell towers do not belong near residential neighborhood or schools –it is irresponsible.  Newer small cell technology can provide needed coverage without significantly impacting our families, homes, schools and destroying the beauty of our community.

This is important, just look at the macro cell tower AT&T placed in front of our new High School.

San Marcos High Cell Tower

Support your community and attend the April 2, 2014 Workshop, 6:00 at the San Marcos City Hall.

For more information, contact saycellno@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.Aom/sanmarcosnewcelltechnology

San Marcos Cell Tower Ordinance Opinion


We received this Press Release from a group of San Elijo Hills & Questhaven Hills Resident, working on a potential new City of San Marcos Ordinance for Cell Towers. We share it to keep San Elijo Hills & San Marcos informed on the process.

Press Release

The San Marcos City Council reverses their position on a Cell Tower Farms in San Elijo and Questhaven Hills

Over community objections, Mayor Jim Desmond led the vote to approve a 35 foot, 12 panel AT&T cell tower at their Council Meeting on October 22.  This cell tower is just 350 feet from homes in San Elijo Hills.

Since a T-Mobile cell tower already exists at this site, this established a “Cell Farm” with 24 micro wave antennas in the middle of San Elijo and Questhaven Hills.  Vice Mayor Rebecca Jones, responding to residents objections and directed City Staff to develop a better cell ordinance.

When the new cell tower ordinance went before the City Council for approval on January 14, 2014 Mayor Desmond announced that he was not going to allow a vote.  The Mayor then went on to back pedal on what he and City Staff communicated to the Union Tribune and residence of San Marcos and San Elijo Hills.  He told staff he could not support “1,000 ft. of separation between cell towers”, an ordinance that “does not allow clustering” (aka Cell Farms), and an ordinance that does not allow more than one cell site per property.

Mayor Desmond is quoted in the Dec. 11, 2013 Union Tribune saying, “We’ve got nothing right now.  We want to have rules about how they should be shielded and the maximum number of antennas on a property.”  Jerry Backoff, Planning Director, said “San Marcos would limit cell towers to one per property, regardless of acreage.”  At the Council Meeting Mayor Desmond changed his position 180 degrees.

The Mayor’s changes will make “Cell Farms” which he said he opposed possible.  The Mayor stepped in and in effect rewrote the ordinance, this is inappropriate.  He then directed the Planning Department to draft an ordinance he would support.

The Planning Department researched ordinances of other cities and hosted a workshop with residents and the cell companies before submitting the cell ordinance. They also included input from Jonathan Kramer (their FCC legal advisor and RF expert).  The Mayor ignored the City’s process and recommendations and in effect ordered changes, all of which were what cell tower companies wanted.  He did not direct staff to include any of the resident’s requests.

The Mayor was not going to allow public comment.  Council member Chris Orlando said he felt that since the residents of San Marcos came to this meeting expecting a vote, they should be allowed to speak.  Discussion ensued and, after another Council member agreed with Chris, the Mayor agreed to let the residents speak, but the City Council cut their comment time to 3 minutes.

The Mayor instructed staff to provide him an advanced copy of the ordinance before (releasing it to the public).  The City Attorney said the ordinance is public record and therefore they cannot provide him an advanced copy.

Although AT&T had been present at all the cell tower meetings they were not present for this meeting.  San Elijo and Questhaven Hills residents’ questioned why the City communicated to AT&T the ordinance was not being voted on and was being redrafted to include the cell industry requests.  The City Council denied they notified AT&T of the ordinance status in advance of the meeting.

T-Mobile is still operating their out of compliance, 12 antenna cell tower at this San Elijo/Questshaven Hills site without a valid permit for almost a year.  This matter was brought to the City’s attention by residents six months ago.  Residents insisted that the cell tower be shut down until it is brought into compliance and a new permit approved–neither has happened.

You can view the January 14, 2014 meeting at: http://sanmarcos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=423

The Ordinance segment starts at 49.3 minutes.

San Marcos City Council Approves The AT&T Cell Tower 4-1 in San Elijo Hills


Tuesday evening the San Marcos City Council approved a AT&T 35 foot – 12 antenna cell tower tree in San Elijo Hills.

The vote was 4-1, with only council member Chris Orlando voting against the cell tower. Orlando failed to convince his fellow San Marcos City Council members to kill the AT&T tower at this location and look at other options. This cell tower will be placed next to the shorter and smaller T-Mobile tower currently at this site.

Some San Elijo Hills residents were able to initiate some debate between the City Council and City Planners. A group of San Elijo Hills residents stressed to the City Council that if they approve this cell tower Verizon, who withdrew their permit to see if the AT&T tower is approved, will also be at this site creating a “cell tower farm”  just over 100 yards South of the intersection of Twin Oaks and Double Peak Road fingered into a privately owned parcel and adjacent to current and future San Elijo Hills homes. San Elijo Hills currently has cell towers in the San Elijo Park baseball field light stations.

Watch video of the San Marcos City Council debate.

Read San Diego UT Article

San Marcos City Council to Hear Appeal to AT&T Cell Tower Application in San Elijo Hills

imageSan Marcos City Council to hear an appeal to AT&T Cell Tower Application in San Elijo Hills on October 22nd at 6:00 PM. City Council Chambers, San Marcos City Hall, 1 Civic Center Drive. The tower was approved by the San Marcos Planning Commission September 3rd.

The application Installation and operation of antenna facility including a ground-mounted equipment inside a new 240 square foot equipment building and a 35-foot tall mono-tree with 12 panel antennas (designed to resemble a pine tree) at an existing single-family residence with the agricultural (a-1) Zone at 2080 Golden Eagle Trail, San Marcos- See map

Here is a flyer from a San Elijo Hills group that is opposed to the cell tower:

Flyer One Page Oct 2013(final]

You will also see City signs posted on San Elijo Road and at the Questhaven Park alerting you of the meeting and the appeal.

San Marcos Planning Commission Application For a New AT&T Cell Tower in San Elijo Hills

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San Marcos Planning Commission application for a new AT&T cell tower in San Elijo Hills

Looks the City of San Marcos Planning Commission will hear an application for a new AT&T cell tower. The application Installation and operation of antenna facility including a ground-mounted equipment inside a new 240 square foot equipment building and a 35-foot tall mono-tree with 12 panel antennas (designed to resemble a pine tree) at an existing single-family residence with the agricultural (a-1) Zone at 2080 Golden Eagle Trail, San Marcos- See map

The application will be heard at the next regular Planning Commission hearing scheduled for Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013.

Read the application