Property Owners May Give Verizon Tower Relocation Options

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Four property owners along Huntington Drive are apparently willing to discuss the possibility of allowing Verizon to install cellphone signal devices to their buildings, Planning and Building Director Aldo Cervantes reported last week.
Cervantes, who was updating the City Council on the matter, did not name those owners or which properties. He said those four owners were among a total of nine whose properties were identified by Verizon as feasible locations.
In the meantime, Cervantes added he was continuing to work with the city prosecutor to hold Verizon’s feet to the fire in the city’s quest to remove a signal propagation tower from in between the San Marino Unified School District office building and Huntington Middle School.
“We are finalizing a timeline to really ramp up the prosecution level,” he said, adding he plans to have that timeline ready by Friday’s Aug. 21 meeting.
Assuming negotiations are successful, the small site device Verizon would install on a building rooftop would be substantially smaller than the 65-foot tower that was slated to have been installed behind City Hall. Public outcry about the planned tower, which would have been disguised as a tree, and a veto by San Marino’s emergency services providers (whose buildings are adjacent to City Hall) ended that proposal.
Verizon had installed the tower on the SMUSD properties years ago under a rental agreement that stipulated attaining the necessary local, state and federal permits and variances. Controversy among parents over the proximity of the tower to schoolchildren became focused when Verizon did not secure all of those permits, and there has been a slow-moving effort to relocate the tower ever since, despite ultimatums from both the city and SMUSD.
“Those deadlines obviously came and went without any abatement of the violations,” Cervantes said. “It wasn’t until we sort of pushed on them that they gave us a list of properties they were considering for small site locations.”
Another tower that was installed on San Marino High School property is on schedule to be relocated to a property outside of city limits.
Resident Raymond Quan, one of the more vocal advocates for removing the towers, gave a brief presentation to the City Council that he said highlighted inconsistent data coverage maps provided by Verizon and suggested the company was doctoring signal shortfalls to support wherever they wanted to place a tower at the time.
“The narrative, of course, does not match their data,” Quan said.
The City Council filed the report and continues to look toward future developments.
“We just have to continue to put pressure on them,” Councilman Steve Talt said.

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