Many Laguna Beach residents are opposed to Verizon’s proposal of 18 new cell tower facilities directly next to homes, schools and parks. Valuable views would be permanently compromised with the proposed top-heavy facilities. Realtors and appraisers agree properties values are negatively affected when they are next to cell towers and difficult to sell or rent.
We are also extremely concerned about an increased fire hazard as many of these new sites are next to open space. In 2007, the Malibu fire that burned 4,000 acres, 14 structures and 36 cars was started by three utility poles that were top heavy with cellular equipment that went down from strong Santa Ana wind conditions. As a result, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T settled to pay the city $12 million. There are many cases when fires have been started during regular maintenance of these facilities.
Due to Laguna Beach’s natural hilly topography, it is impossible to have full four- bar cellular coverage, no matter how many cell tower sites are deployed. I am a Verizon customer and I do not have problems with cellular coverage anywhere in Laguna (the majority coverage is two to four bar on my phone), therefore I question if these new proposed facilities are necessary. For residents who desire more coverage, there is home equipment (mini cell towers) that will give you the coverage you need that you may acquire through your provider.
Please help the residents being directly affected by this. If you would like to voice your concern, please email our City Council and Planning Commission members (email addresses on city’s web site) and attend the Planning Commission’s meeting on June 21 at 6 p.m. There is also a petition you may sign found on Change.org. (Labeled 18 cell towers).
Kristy Peterson, Laguna Beach