105-foot communications tower in Land Park? Residents voice opposition to the proposal

Last week Land Park neighbors living within a 300-foot radius of the address of 3005 Freeport Blvd. received an “early notice” letter from the city of Sacramento Community Development Department that Epic Wireless has applied to construct a new telecommunications facility, which will consist of a 105-foot monopine with six antennas and equipment in a fenced compound on the ground with an approximately one-acre site. Located behind Round Table Pizza, the project requires a conditional use permit to establish the use for the telecommunications facility and a site plan and design review to develop the site with the facility.
Two similar pines exist in the Land Park area – one in William Land Park and one in the city cemetery. The proposed location has upset neighbors who say a monopine would not fit in with its surroundings. For one thing, there are no pine trees in that area and for another, there may be some elsewhere in Land Park, but they are not 105 feet tall. Some of the oak trees are in the realm of 40 to 50 feet tall, a far cry from the height of the proposed monopine.
While there is no exact date of when the tower may be erected, it’s early in the planning process and the city of Sacramento Community Development Department is accepting letters from neighbors.
David Hung, city of Sacramento associate planner and point of contact for the project, said he welcomes all input from neighbors and suggests questions and comments be in writing so that he can forward them to the members of the planning commission, which would be the body of government first to decide on the project. (Letters can be sent to dhung@cityofsacramento.org)
He said he’s received “about four or five” letters of opposition and expects to see some more.
From the city’s side, Hung agrees with neighbors that “105 feet is pretty tall and it’s an issue for planning too. We like to see lower (heights) and we let the applicant know we’d like to see it lower. The reason for (the proposed) height is that there are power lines nearby so they want to be above adjacent power lines.”
While the neighbors in opposition don’t have an official group name, the group’s spokesperson Kathleen Brown said she has been joking that the group be called, Land Park Against the Cancer Tower. She has no doubt people will be protesting the proposal. “We’re lawyers, doctors, scientists. We’re not just a group that will sit back and let a cancer causing tower go up.”
For Kathleen, an attorney and real estate broker, the lack of notice to residents was particularly unnerving. While she lives on Fourth Avenue and does not reside in the 300-foot radius of the proposed project, she owns a rental property within the radius. Her tenants did not receive notice since they’re not the property owners. And while Kathleen did in deed receive the notice, she felt that people who live, work and go to school in the area should know about the project.
Offended by the fact that her tenants live there but did not receive notice about the tower, Kathleen is waging her own mission to educate neighbors about the proposal. “I figure this is just right thing to do.”
“This is all very unnerving to me, the total lack of notice. This had been presented couple months ago to LPCA (Land Park Community Association) and the applicant said there was no opposition. They presented it, but never bothered to knock on the doors. If this was presented two months to LPCA it should be presented to the neighbors.”
Kathleen said her skeptical side says that right across the railroad tracks from the tower will be Curtis Park Village and said Epic Wireless probably wants “to rush this in before they have report it to Curtis Park Village.”
A real estate broker who specializes in older homes and the Land Park neighborhood, Kathleen said she cannot see “this monstrosity being beneficial to anyone’s property values, except maybe the (property owners) for some additional rent.”
While lack of notice of the proposal and the unsightly view of it are concerns for Kathleen, she said her biggest concern is her understanding that they are cancerous. “There are a plethora of articles on cancer. I’m not sure how conclusive they are. Foreign governments said they are but here (in the United States) we have a huge (communications) lobby that says they are not cancerous.” Regardless, Kathleen is not going to risk the health of 2,500 students at C.K. McClatchy.
It’s curious whether another tower is even necessary in the Land Park area. Every neighbor Kathleen has spoken to has said their cell phones operate without any problems. Within a 3-mile radius of the proposed location, there are 119 towers and 649 antenna locations, according to antennasearch.com, an online service that detects newly filed (or pending) tower applications.
At a city of Sacramento Planning Commission workshop on telecommunications facilities back on Feb. 24, 2011, guidelines for the construction of these towers were provided, listing in order of preference of the construction as follows:
-located completely within an existing constructed structure
-existing structures (public or private) that allow a facade mounted antenna
-existing structures (public or private) which require a modification of the structure architecturally or in height in order to mount antennas (includes roof mounts)
-Collocation on existing poles or light standards at a lower height
-new monopole (whether co-developed or single carrier)
Because the city’s own guidelines suggest that monopines be constructed as a last resort, neighbors feel they have more buying power in the process.

editor@valcomnews.com

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