Keep Our Neighborhood Safe and Beautiful
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As a resident of Sunland, California and an advocate for children of Sunland Elementary School in Sunland, I am writing to in complete opposition to the proposed cell phone tower at the Sunland Neighborhood Church adjacent to the Sunland Elementary School. The proposed commercial cell tower would be out of character with the general nature, beauty, landscape, scenery and charm of our neighborhood. Additionally I have concerns about public safety hazards these commercial facilities could pose to school children, homes, fire hazard areas, our school and wildlife.
Installing a wireless base station and tower in a residential area will lead to a deterioration the quality of the life that we have come to treasure here in Sunland. It does not fit in with our community aesthetics. The cell tower disguised as a fake eucalyptus tree is a visual blight and sets an unwelcome precedent for our Sunland neighborhood. If we allow one fake eucalyptus how many other fake eucalyptus tree cell towers are next? Then what happens to our school, our views and our natural scenery?
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2009 sided with the City of Palos Verdes Estates and it's residents' right to opposed a wireless tower based on aesthetics: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2009/10/fake_trees_will_not_grow_in_pve.php and http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ugly-telecoms26-2009oct26,0,5439620.story
Here in Sunland the neighborhood surrounding the proposed wireless facility consists of primarily of Sunland Elementary School, residential homes, condominiums and the church which is the proposed sight of this 30 foot cell tower. Sunland has a commitment to maintain and protect its quality neighborhoods. Encroachment of inappropriate non-residential uses is and should be avoided in our neighborhoods. Sunland is committed to building and maintaining a community that meets today's needs while providing a high quality of life for future generations. Development in Sunland is respectful of the environment and resources. The scale and character of Sunland is preserved by avoiding land uses and structures that are inconsistent with surrounding development and/or the area's desired character. There neighborhoods define Sunland's small town feeling and provide the basis for the quality of life that Sunland residents enjoy. The original character of these neighborhoods is preserved through development controls. Residents, city officials and the State of California are also concerned about the pole installations from a public safety standpoint.
Our city, Los Angeles, should adopt regulations that address these non ionizing radiation safety hazards posed by the installation of wireless facilities on utility poles in residential neighborhoods. These include pole overload and resulting fire and electrocution hazards, poles topple due to high winds, earthquakes, vehicular accidents and explosive and toxic chemical hazards from backup lead-acid batteries containing hydrogen gas.
There are public safety concerns surrounding wireless facilities in general. They attract crime, vandalism, vagrancy, suicide attempts and are a leading cause of occupational falls. Routine maintenance has lead to fires and high winds have toppled poles. The Malibu fires, according to an ABC news report, were caused by utility poles "overburdened by new cellular phone gear". Power poles that should have withstood winds of 92 mph snapped in the 50 mph winds due to the "heavy, wind-catching cables and antennas". We don't want to put this cell tower, which could entail more antennas adding onto it once it is installed, at a church adjacent to our neighborhood elementary school, around real trees and homes. It's a potential fire hazard, especially in this fire-sensitive area of Sunland. It would increase anxiety and worries about a potential fire here. There are safety concerns regarding cell towers and potential fire hazards.
Some cities have wireless facility regulations requiring specific setbacks to protect nearby properties from a potential fall hazard. The California Public Utilities Commission is currently holding workshops to address the fire hazard risks posed by telecommunications equipment loaded onto utility poles. These type of installations have either started or contributed to several wildfires that resulted in loss of lives and serious destruction of homes, property and land.
In addition back-up batteries for wireless facilities can be made of hazardous substances. Read this June 2008 Board of Appeals Report that addresses this serious concern that residents raised there about the dangers and hazards of lead back-up batteries:
Also read this article:
Here are more articles about the hazards and dangers these batteries pose:
Rigorous testing and inspection protocols should be established, paid for by the wireless companies, and conducted by independent third party experts under city supervision and fines must be imposed for any non-compliance. These public safety news stories underscore why these installations should be placed away from homes and schools. Knowing they could be installed near our homes and schools negatively affects our quality of life.
There is no question that installation of this facility at this site will impact property values in the adjacent and surrounding neighborhood. Because of the intense and on-going controversy surrounding such sites and the stigmas attached thereto, it will be increasingly more difficult for sellers to maintain their current level of pricing in the area. Wireless cellular towers and base stations are listed in the 50 Environmental Hazards to Avoid When Buying, Selling or Maintaining a Home" (The Home Environmental Source Book). And the locations of these facilities must be disclosed to potential buyers just as with any other potential hazard in the area or they can be sued.
I am voicing my opposition because of all the reasons cited above. This may impact enrollment at the Sunland Elementary School due to the oppostition of this cell phone tower by many parents. The school was just made aware of this proposed tower prior to spring break.
I hope the City of Los Angeles and the Sunland Neighborhood Church will reconsider and not allow this cell phone tower so close to the school and residences and can find another less dangerous and intrusive location.
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