Proposed Small Cell Installation Hot Topic at CVTC Meeting

Photos by Nicole MOORE
Rola Masri was given time by fellow attendees of the CVTC meeting to better outline the community’s concerns regarding the installation of a small cell site.

By Nicole MOORE

On May 17, the Crescenta Valley Town Council held its monthly meeting, open to the public, at the La Crescenta Library community room.

During the meeting, the town council recognized exemplary Crescenta Valley students by the presentation of academic scholarships. The recipients – Alexis Karakas, Talin Bakalyan, Kaitlyn Watcher, Hanna Alanizi, Grady Schilling, Sena Lim, Saya Linney and Jake Schaffer – were chosen by a committee after a series of interviews were held.

“We hope [the scholarships] will help [the students] achieve what they’re all trying to do,” said Daniel Kim, council member.

A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of scholarships to graduating seniors.

Representatives from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept.-Crescenta Valley station and the County of Los Angeles Fire Dept. updated the council on events in their departments in the last 30 days. In the month of April, the sheriff’s department responded to two residential burglaries and one commercial burglary as well as nine larcenies and petty thefts. In addition, La Crescenta saw two property damage collisions and two collisions involving injuries. Additionally, the fire department responded to a total of 63 calls, 48 of which were medically related.

Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce president Calvin Chock announced that on May 23 the Chamber would be taking part in the presentation of The Walton Cup to the library where it will be on display. The cup dates back to 1915 and was created to recognize the founders of Montrose, La Crescenta and Oakdale. It was discovered in an antique store in Maryland mid 2017. Local civic leaders managed to raise enough money to bring the cup back to its rightful home.

Mercy Santoro, the east agency deputy director of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, presented a conceptual plan for tree replacement and the beautification of Two Strike Park. Recently, eight trees died in the park and became a potential hazard for park goers. Additionally, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation is interested in installing and growing drought-resistant plants throughout Two Strike.

Next, a representative of AT&T presented the company’s proposed project for a small cell tower to be installed at 4704 Briggs Ave. in La Crescenta. The representative stated the location was chosen by AT&T’s engineers based on where there is a need to supplement a gap in coverage. Additionally, the small cell would support differing types of bandwidths, will help lessen the data strain of AT&T’s broader network, and will provide the groundwork for the coverage of future 5G devices.

Community members were allotted one minute to voice their concerns regarding the proposed small cell tower.

“I’m right across the street [from the proposed tower]… I just bought the house literally last month. It is my dream house. I have an 8-year-old and a 2-year-old. A lot of the studies I’ve read concern me with two children in the house … I’ve never once needed more [cellphone] coverage. This seems like an unnecessary health concern with the elementary school close by,” said Stephanie Kimber, La Crescenta resident.

Many of the meeting’s participants were upset by a lack of notification and outreach by AT&T in regards to another small cell installation.

“I fought [another small cell site] right next to my house [18 months prior.] All of us in La Crescenta are concerned about this. We need to be informed. You guys were derelict in not notifying us,” said Marilyn Tyler, another La Crescenta resident. “We need to know whenever AT&T and anyone else is trying to put a cell tower in.”

Another participant worried this will be “a gateway drug” for other service providers to come into the area for additional installations.

Seven attendants gave La Crescenta resident, Rola Masri, their allotted minute. She presented to the town council the varying health-related issues of prolonged microwave exposure, including neurological effects, nausea, fatigue and cancer.

“These are real issues and most of it will make us very unhealthy,” said Masri. “Who is going to defend us, my children, everyone’s children, and those who are already sick?”

The town council called for a motion to allow the installation for the small use cell tower as proposed by AT&T.

“From what I read [the small cell tower] generates limited energy,” said council Vice President Mike Claessens. “Having generalized information about microwaves is not helpful.”

Harry Leon, president of the CV Town Council, said he had apprehensions regarding the small cell.

“I’m not convinced this is safe enough for me personally but maybe being a professional I might need it. That’s a different story. But from what I can sense, this is not safe enough for my own use.”

The motion did not pass to send a letter to Supervisor Kathryn Barger to support the installation with two councilmembers in favor, two abstained and two against.