Cell Tower Update, Project Contracts on City Council Docket

The City Council at its Friday morning meeting is expected to receive an update by city staff and legal counsel on how it will continue to work with Verizon over the potential location, if any, of a hotly disputed cellphone tower in San Marino.
If it is decided that city staff should continue those proceedings, the City Council expects to next be updated on the matter at its Sept. 13 meeting.
Many residents have made it known to the council they don’t agree with the idea of Verizon relocating its 65-foot “monoelm” tower (named for its resemblance to a tree) directly behind City Hall, where they say it creates a risk to the San Marino Police Department and San Marino Fire Station in the event of a natural disaster and also feel it will look unsightly from both Huntington Drive and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Verizon has looked for years to relocate the tower from San Marino Unified School District property on the fringe of its district office and near Huntington Middle School. Residents also widely oppose that location and Verizon also appears to have violated its lease agreement with SMUSD by not attaining the necessary conditional use permit for the tower from the city.
The City Council, for its part, reneged on a plan to approve the lease agreement at its meeting earlier this month after hearing from its constituents’ disapproval. Instead, the council directed staff and City Attorney Steven Flower to discuss alternative tower locations or alternative plans — such as small rooftop antennae. Flower also has said he will look into how expensive an independent analysis of Verizon’s cellphone signal coverage shortfalls would be, to more accurately compare it to the cellphone provider’s own analysis.
Two contract bids also are scheduled to be awarded at the Friday meeting.
The first project — which will replace street asphalt overlay and also damaged curbs, gutters and sidewalks and install accessibility ramps where necessary — will tentatively be awarded to Santa Ana-based Hardy & Harper Inc. for about $1.25 million, which comes in more than $1 million under budget.
The second contract — a four-year agreement for city-owned tree maintenance — will tentatively be awarded to Irwindale-based Mariposa Landscapes Inc. for an annual price of $230,915. Because this bid comes in slightly over budget, the City Council will have to appropriate an additional $25,915 for this fiscal year. Mariposa Landscapes also won the prior four-year contract.
The City Council also will hear updates on the project to replace the Rose Arbor in Lacy Park and the planned fundraising campaign to help pay for it. The $400,000 project already has been half funded by former City Councilman Dr. Matthew Lin.
Debbie Priester also will give a presentation on the upcoming community trip to the Republic of San Marino, a microstate situated within Italy that has previously sent representatives here for a similar trip.
The City Council meets at 8 a.m. on Friday at City Hall.

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