Seven months after getting a permit for a cell tower on Loma Alta Drive rejected, AT&T is looking for a location in Altadena to install a tower, a company representative said at a meeting on Tuesday.
The subject came up during an Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meeting on cell phone reception in Altadena.
Rich Roche, the External Affairs Director for the company, did not have any specific locations to announce or any timeline on when there might be more details, but he said the company still sees a need for a tower in the Altadena area.
He said the company wants to work with Altadena residents to find a good location and to "create visible and vocal support" for the project.
"We need your help," Roche said. "If you believe it is a good idea, you can speak up for it."
The company's previous proposal . Michael Antonovich, Altadena's representative on the board, argued that the 100-foot-tall proposed tower was "visually intrusive" and incompatible with neighborhood zoning codes that allow for a maximum height of 35 feet for buildings. The tower would have been located in a wash area at 147 E. Loma Alta Drive.
There were a significant number of residents in favor of the tower and also a significant amount of opposition at the time: The county reported 53 letters or emails of support for the proposal, but also received a petition signed by more than 40 people who were opposed. A small group of residents in opposition showed up to testify against the tower at each public hearing it received.
Opposition Speaks Up
At Tuesday's meeting some members of the opposition to that project showed up to speak. One member of the group said she would be in opposition to any cell tower project in a residential neighborhood in Altadena.
Another speaker said the problem with the first project essentially was a lack of communication. She noted that the Altadena Town Council had come up with the Loma Alta location after there was resident opposition to locating the tower elsewhere in town. After the project was moved, neither the Town Council nor AT&T communicated with the residents who lived closest to the new Loma Alta locations.
As to whether any future tower could be significantly reduced in height or moved to a hill side area further away for residents, the prospects do not look good.
Tim O’Malley, a Verizon Wireless representative who was also spoke at Tuesday's meeting, said that a 35-foot-tower that met Altadena residential code height restrictions would not function very well. The problem, he said, is that it would be the same height as many trees and houses, which would effectively block the signal.
Cell towers placed too high up on a hill side, on the other hand, would pick up too many signals to function effectively, O'Malley said.
For those who do want to see improved reception in Altadena, the cell tower may not come any time soon: Roche said at the meeting that in L.A. County it can take 18 months from submitting a proposal just to get through the planning process and schedule a county hearing.