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No Cell Towers Near Homes In Hillsborough, CA

This petition had 1,519 supporters

We, the undersigned, demand that the Town of Hillsborough enforce its own local laws regulating wireless facilities and disapprove Verizon’s scheme to install 16 massive cell towers near homes around our strictly residential town.

Erecting industrial structures as high as five-and-a-half stories tall looming over homes with bulky utility boxes strapped to them or stacked on the ground will utterly destroy the essential rural character of our town, historically known for no sidewalks and no streetlamps.

Hundreds of Hillsborough homeowners and neighbors were sandbagged with one week’s notice that the Town was set to approve Verizon cell towers as high as 55 feet right near their homes. 

After a huge public outcry, City Manager Kathy Leroux has delayed her planned approval of the 16-site project until December 21, 2017.  Your voice is needed to stop her approval!

Sign this petition NOW to urge the City Manager – who does not even live in Hillsborough - to deny the cell towers and go back to the drawing board to develop a plan that maintains wireless availability without destroying our local values and the aesthetics of the town we call home.

Any wireless facilities, much less massive cell towers, should be away from homes and schools in town-owned land or camouflaged in open space before any other locations are even considered, as Hillsborough law requires.  There are countless options widely available on public property.  And yet the project calls for 55-foot cell towers in front of homes as close as 35 feet.

We urge the City Manager to deny the project for the following reasons:

1.     It will ruin the aesthetics of Hillsborough.  We are a strictly residential, rural town.  55-foot cell towers with no camouflage will create visual blight and destroy views and detract from the public’s enjoyment.

2.     It will create a dangerous precedent.  Other communities that have approved residential cell towers have fallen into this trap and are now fighting 80-foot towers and even 120-foot towers in their communities.  Once installed, the wireless carrier has even more legal power to make it 20 feet higher, bulkier, and more of an eyesore.  16 cell towers could metastasize to dozens or even hundreds more towers – there is no clear limiting principle to stop the spread.  While it is Verizon today, tomorrow it will be Sprint, ATT, and T-Mobile putting up huge cell towers in front of houses, schools, or parks.  Hillsborough could turn into a cell tower farm! 

3.     It will tank property values.  Studies have determined that homes in the blast radius of radio frequency-emitting cell towers lose 20% or more of their property value.  The existence of a cell tower near a home MUST be included in the disclosure packet upon sale. 

4.     It could threaten health.  Radio frequency emissions above the federal guidelines as the proposed cell towers emit have been linked to cancer and serious adverse health effects.  So cell towers could affect hundreds of homes in the emission radius.  In fact, federal law requires the posting of a huge blue warning sign on each cell tower warning that the area exceeds federal guidelines for radio frequency emissions.

5.     It could create a fire hazard.  The 2007 Malibu Canyon fire was sparked by wireless equipment attached to a wooden utility pole, just as the Verizon plan calls for here in Hillsborough.  The blaze burned 3,800 acres and destroyed dozens of homes and vehicles.  Hillsborough is in the highest level fire risk area in the state.

All Hillsborough has to do to avoid this calamity is enforce its own laws that give it the power to deny cell towers on aesthetics alone.  Numerous other cities such as San Francisco, Piedmont, Alamo, Palos Verdes, and Santa Margarita (to name a few) have recently denied cell tower projects in residential areas just on aesthetic grounds. 

The law also forbids the Town from approving cell towers unless alternative designs, such as antennas on stop signs or fiber optic underground or other lower profile options, are used instead if feasible.  No matter what, though, the Town cannot approve the project because Verizon has not shown 16 cell towers is “the least intrusive” way to address a “significant gap” in wireless coverage.

We not only urge that the project be denied, but demand that the process be reformed.  Hillsborough law must be amended to require the following before any wireless infrastructure is subject to an official decision:  45-days advance individualized notice to homeowners and neighbors, a public hearing at least 20 days before the determination, a decision by a vote of the Town Council. 

Respectfully submitted,

Hillsborough Families Against Cell Towers

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