AT&T plans to move forward with its application to install a cell tower in Pacific Palisades following last week's unanimous vote by the community council, mirroring the land use committee's motion, to oppose any wireless communications towers without advanced written notice or a master plan in place for all telecommunications installation proposals.
Company officials stated they want to continue working with the community and hold a public meeting to talk about potential alternative sites to the controversial 302 Mount Holyoke Avenue proposal. A meeting has not yet been announced.
AT&T spokesman Lane Kasselman said Monday they have to keep moving forward to get approved but have to make changes to the application based on community needs, so "bulldozers won't be out there tomorrow."
"We’ll pause, talk to folks who are most concerned and impacted, and try to figure out if there’s ways to address concerns," Kasselman said. "Most regulation for cell site is the domain of the federal government."
He said that "90 to 95 percent" of their proposals around the state receive no community interest or opposition, but when they do it triggers a "full process" to enter into talks with the community.
"When we talk community meeting, they’re more like science fairs," Kasselman said. "We hire outside independent experts to talk about radiation [concerns], housing values, using a cell phone and growth in the industry. We really want to do whatever we can."
"They can grill them," he noted for the concerned residents.
Kasselman said AT&T's wireless traffic has grown by "20,000 percent" in the last five years, and are mandated to bring the area's cellular coverage to adequate capacity.
AT&T Area Manager Kevin Tamaki told the community council on Thursday they want to keep working with Pacific Palisades. He mentioned two alternative proposals, which would move the pole across the street or further down the street away from the park, but other residents with homes nearby have already raised concerns about a cell tower closer their homes.
Concerned neighbors say AT&T not working with the community
Dozens of neighbors opposed to the 302 Mount Holyoke Avenue, including two realtors, came to last Thursday's Palisades Community Council meeting, saying the tower will have negative effect on property values and "destroy" the view from the adjacent park that overlooks the Pacific coast. Several residents held opposition posters.
Resident Trevor Neilson, representing the Facebook Group "Stop AT&T From Putting Cell Towers in Palisades Parks" said they have 300 residents who have signed their petition. The Facebook group is up to 236 members as of Tuesday morning.
"You guys have done nothing to work with the community," he said, citing continued surveying happening at 302 Mount Holyoke Avenue. "A master plan should be heard and approved."
Realtor Rod Aragon said local agents have signed Neilson's petition, noting he took a client by the bluff on Mount Holyoke Avenue who told him they would not buy a property there "at any price" if a cell tower was being installed.
"Assigning property values may be one of our issues." Aragon said. "We might have sale ability issue on our blocks, should adverse information be discovered over time about the cell phone towers. Take a few steps back so we can take a couple steps forward together."
Community Council Vice Chairwoman Chris Spitz noted not a single resident has come forward in support of the current AT&T proposal.