By Kevork KURDOGHLIAN
Approximately 10 homeowners residing near the Crescenta Valley Water District’s two water tanks at 5041 Cloud Ave. in La Crescenta came out to look at the property that is the proposed site of a 70-foot cellphone tower.
At noon on Feb. 7, Ursula Moran, a representative for AT&T, and Jerry Ambrose, a land use consultant hired by AT&T, met with concerned citizens at the proposed site.
Moran said the purpose of the walkthrough was “to jot down all of the different concerns and questions that are being discussed today and bring them back and see what [AT&T] can do.”
To justify the cell tower’s necessity, Ambrose said, “You go where the demand is and nowadays the demand is near people’s homes.”
Both Ambrose and Moran explained that many locations in Crescenta Valley, including Valley View Elementary, had been examined as potential sites for the tower, but different reasons kept them from selecting those sites.
“Several alternate locations were taken into account,” said Moran. “This wasn’t a random choice.”
Initially AT&T had hoped to build the tower on a dirt plot just outside of the fence surrounding the water tanks on CVWD property where, because of higher grading, the tower would have stood at 45-feet.
Ambrose explained that Los Angeles County officials wanted to keep that area open to eventually pave a road connecting the lower and upper portions of Cloud Avenue.
When AT&T looked at the nearby water basin as a potential site, Ambrose said, L.A. County Flood Control prohibited it.
AT&T also looked at the Ananda Ashrama Temple at the top of Pennsylvania Avenue, but its engineers said the site was too high in elevation to provide maximum and improved coverage.
“[AT&T] also actually looks at existing sites as options first before proposing an entirely new site,” Moran said.
In their search, AT&T representatives had decided to also co-locate, or add their signal, onto an existing site at the nearby Lutheran Church in the 2700 block of Orange Avenue. A few group members were angered to hear that the co-location at the Lutheran Church would not suffice and pressed for more answers.
“The demand for services is so high, and [with] the new phones and everything, you can’t just have one tower on a hill, you need several towers everywhere,” Ambrose replied. “Ideally we can put all the towers in the middle of industrial zones in the middle of L.A. and cover everybody, but the reality is that the demand is right here.”
Neighbors can take some comfort in that they do have a say in the proposed tower’s aesthetics, which is currently slated to look like a eucalyptus tree. Some members of the group suggested making the cell tower look like a water tower or silo.
Moran and Ambrose did not respond to a comment on the potential health concerns and property devaluation issues that were raised, but did take note of the comment.
Ambrose said that Los Angeles County has wireless guidelines that planners will follow during construction.
“[AT&T engineers and planners] have to just consider the technical requirements of the property and what the county allows,” added Ambrose.
Ambrose also mentioned that the zoning process has not yet been approved and that a structural report will only be completed when that process is complete. The current estimates for the whole process places the 60 days of tower construction to finish sometime in July 2014.
“I urge all residents to email your comments and concerns regarding this proposed project to the Los Angeles County planner Michele Bush at email@example.com, on or before Feb. 17,” said Karin Kim, a neighbor who lives close to the proposed site. She added to reference the case R2013-01031-(5), CUP201300055 AT&T and copy CV.ACTNOW@gmail.com, the CV Town Council corresponding secretary Cheryl Davis at cheryl@theCVcouncil.com, and the Crescenta Valley Water District at firstname.lastname@example.org. She added that those who would like to receive updated information and/or join efforts to defeat AT&T’s proposal to contact CV.ACTNOW@gmail.com to be added to the email list.