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Just say ‘no’ to cell towers

Posted: February 26, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 26, 2014 2:00 a.m.

I have been a happy resident of Valencia for 17 years, but I am not happy now.

On Feb. 18, the Santa Clarita Planning Commission voted by a 3-2 margin to approve the construction of a cell tower in the middle of my Northbridge neighborhood.

The tower will stand 42 feet high on Fairview Drive, less than 300 feet from several homes and 600 feet from Helmers Elementary School.

AT&T will attempt to conceal the behemoth by making it look like a eucalyptus tree. All of us know that these “trees” are a blight to any area.

They look bad enough when witnessed at the side of freeways; can you imagine looking at one every day from your backyard?

These cell towers emit continuous radio frequencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Saugus Union School District needs to know how close this cell tower is to one of its schools. Residents of Northbridge need to be aware of what will be constructed in our neighborhood unless we make an appeal.

Residents throughout Santa Clarita need to know that they are just as susceptible to having a cell tower built in their neighborhoods as we were.

Do the pros of better cell coverage weigh more than the cons of this hideous and potentially hazardous structure?

I say no.



ricketzz: Posted: February 26, 2014 6:49 a.m.

The radiation is directed sideways, aimed at a spot below the horizon but above anyone close to the base of the structure. Are you jockeying for reimbursement?

It is all relative. If your phone works fine to Hell with other people using other providers?

BrianBaker: Posted: February 26, 2014 7:04 a.m.

I'm with ricketzz on this one.

One could say that streetlights are unsightly, too, but they are handy once the sun goes down. Same thing with those "ugly" water storage tanks dotting the hilltops, but they're better than dying of thirst.

17trillion: Posted: February 26, 2014 8:11 a.m.

Go live in a cave then.

Unreal: Posted: February 26, 2014 11:52 a.m.

I just hope with the news that we are increasing the amount electricity coming down to Southern California since San Onofre closed that it will not entail more towers running through SCV.

Anyone hear anything?

bqd: Posted: February 26, 2014 8:59 p.m.

Whether you care about the radiation or not, cell towers have a negative impact on property values. I've professionally appraised hundreds of residential properties and there is no question that your property value will drop if you are in close proximity to a cell tower. While water storage tanks look terrible, they do not have the negative stigma of a cell tower.

"jockeying for reimbursement"? whatever...

If you don't mind the cell tower in your back yard, please forward your address information to Mike Marshall at the planning commission so they can recommend your property as an alternate build site for the cell tower.

ricketzz: Posted: February 27, 2014 8:09 a.m.

Look up the radiation patterns for the proposed antennas. There is no concentration of energy close to a properly built site.

Facts: the more sites there are the less power each site radiates. The more sites there are the longer your batteries last.

What is the basis for lowering the value of a property due to proximity to modern wireless infrastructure? Do you also devalue for above ground utilities? Which factor has the most destructive power?

In places where ham radio antennas are banned, clever operators are running 1,000 RF Watts into their gutters and their flagpoles; what does THAT do to property values?

bqd: Posted: February 27, 2014 8:54 a.m.

User Removed Comment.

bqd: Posted: February 27, 2014 8:57 a.m.

Cell towers are not the only thing that lowers property values. Power lines, ham radio antennas and the like will also have a direct effect on lowering property values. The basis for it lowering property values is simple: all emit electromagnetic radiation. RF radiation is more powerful. Whether or not you think it is dangerous doesn't matter. What matters in terms of real estate value is that if buyer has the choice of two equally desirable properties and one is next to a cell tower, they will almost always go with the property that does not have a cell tower next to the location.

You can sound trumpets all day about how there is no concentration of energy close to a "properly built site". It doesn't matter if it is properly or improperly built. The fact is that people buying real estate would rather not live next to cell towers.

Again, whether you care if radiation emits from a tower or not, the fact remains your property value will be significantly lower if you are in close proximity to a cell tower. People don't want to live with and eyesore in their view.

As far a cloaking an antenna with a flagpole, the flagpole itself can be an eyesore to some people and can also have a negative effect on property values.

ricketzz: Posted: February 28, 2014 6:24 a.m.

Luckily I live in a place where I can do what I want as long as I keep it confined to my own boundaries.

"... the flagpole itself can be an eyesore to some people and can also have a negative effect on property values."

Is this based on a scientific study or are you talking personal experience? Do you have a certain, select kind of shopper that is especially picky perhaps? How much $ does it take to change a client's mind about a flagpole? If there is a flag does that change things? Does a Gadsden flag get a bigger discount than a Jolly Roger?

bqd: Posted: February 28, 2014 6:48 a.m.

The reason Home Owners Associations exist is to help preserve property values. In some instances, flag poles, cars on cinder blocks, chain-link fences, etc are considered a nuisance and prohibited by HOAs. HOA managed subdivisions retain better property values better than non HOA managed subdivisions.

The takeaway, Cell Towers have a negative impact on property values.

Cmtl: Posted: February 28, 2014 9:47 a.m.

Ricketzz: if you're concerned about everyone's cell service and believe there is no negative impact from cell towers, I assume you ARE going to contact AT&T and the Planning Commission about placing a cell tower near your home. Otherwise, all your arguments are empty words. They are looking for a site and that way your cell phone battery will last longer.

ricketzz: Posted: March 1, 2014 7:27 a.m.

I can see a water tank and 2 big cell towers from my kitchen window, and I have to look up to see them. I know ATT is not represented in this area and I know that bothers people. I think they have a permit to put a site virtually across the street and up 200', again by a reservoir. As far as I know, no one here objected.

Eventually the cells will be very small and very ubiquitous. Frequency re-use is enhanced by smaller cells. This will require beaucoups fiber, kids. All mobile wireless has a massive hard wire back end.

bqd: Posted: March 1, 2014 10:10 a.m.

Perfect example of how wireless companies will prey on neighborhoods that don't know any better about preserving property values.

Two takeaways,
1. Wireless companies prey on neighborhoods/demographics that are unaware of how to preserve property values.
2. Cell Towers have a negative impact on property values.

ricketzz: Posted: March 3, 2014 6:59 a.m.

Mobile towers go where there is demand for service. They do not look for "easy" neighborhoods. They prefer schoolyards or water tanks because those institutions need the money and will cooperate, but sometimes the engineering requires they be sited in the middle of houses. Regardless, there is no place without towers, that has good coverage. I wouldn't buy a house without good Mobile coverage.

bqd: Posted: March 3, 2014 6:56 p.m.

If you don't care about property values, move next to a cell tower.

If you want to preserve your property value, keep cell towers away from your neighborhood.

bqd: Posted: March 3, 2014 7:14 p.m.

"Mobil towers go where there is a demand for service"
Not true.

That is clearly not true in the case at Northbridge. AT&T clearly stated at the planning commission hearing that there was not an immediate need, rather they wanted to be "proactive" in providing future service.

More importantly, AT&T is a multi-billion dollar company. If they wanted to be proactive, then they need to learn how to provide great service without dumping hideous towers and buildings within residential neighborhoods. The practice of building unsightly towers everywhere is a sloppy, lazy approach with no focus on researching and developing better ways to provide good service.

technologist: Posted: March 6, 2014 11:53 a.m.

What alternative solution do you propose to add capacity to support the market demand driving exponential growth in mobile data use, bqd?

This message has been removed due to a violation.

bqd: Posted: March 6, 2014 4:39 p.m.

Wireless companies are already talking about going with smaller whip antennas that would be on stoplights and strategically placed on some street lights in neighborhoods. Why continue to build cell towers and utility sheds in the middle of a residential neighborhood if that is the direction they will eventually go?

I'm not against getting better coverage, but there are other ways to achieve getting better coverage than to take the sloppy, lazy approach like they are proposing. E.g. cell signal boosters are a start. If you want the tower, then forward your address to Mike Marshall as an alternative site. I'm sure your neighbors will love you.

"crazed anti-technology Ludite" "doesn't vaccinate their children" comments make it clear that you're not interested in seeking out a solution and probably just need to be publicly validated. Comments like these typically come from people that don't have solutions and choose to attack the person because they have no reasonable solution to the problem.

Again, if you don't care about property values, move next to a cell tower.
If you want to preserve property values, keep cell towers out of residential areas.

ricketzz: Posted: March 7, 2014 6:05 a.m.

How much "damage" to property values are you talking about? I have never seen absence of infrastructure lauded on a sales flyer.

bqd: Posted: March 7, 2014 6:16 a.m.

According to the Appraisal Institute, you'll loose approximately 20% of your property value and sometimes more depending on the size and location.

technologist: Posted: March 7, 2014 10:06 a.m.

From what I've read, microcell, picocell and femtocell devices are currently being used to fill gaps in cell tower coverage. It doesn't appear that micro grids are at a replacement stage in the network development cycle.

bqd: Posted: March 7, 2014 10:45 a.m.

The takeaway

Cell Towers have a negative impact on property values.

technologist: Posted: March 8, 2014 2:20 p.m.

Fact: Cell towers are currently necessary for reliable cell service and growing mobile broadband demand.

The challenge is balancing competing community demands. Relying on a single aspect of an issue isn't a balanced approach.

bqd: Posted: March 8, 2014 3:45 p.m.

Fact: Wireless companies are a multi-billion dollar industry.
Fact: Cell towers are not always necessary. According to AT&T at the Planning Commission hearing, the tower is simply their effort to be "proactive"

If you're in a residential neighborhood and can't stand the service, use Cell Phone Signal boosters without loosing property value.

Wireless companies need to devote more financial resources into finding ways to provide better service without junking up neighborhoods with Cell Towers.

Drop-shipping a Cell Tower in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood without making up for the eyesore is not a balanced approach. Camouflaged trees are not the answer and still cause residents to loose property value.

Solution? Like I've already mentioned, use a Signal Booster without loosing property value.

Put another way, wireless companies
* Build the shoddy cell towers
* Residents loose property value
* And the cycle continues
Not a balanced approach.

Fact: Cell Towers have a negative impact on property values.

technologist: Posted: March 8, 2014 4:24 p.m.

"Solution? Like I've already mentioned, use a Signal Booster without loosing (sic) property value."

• Have you used one, bqd?
• Do you know how they work?
• Are you aware that housing and real estate are multi-billion dollar enterprises as well? How is that relevant to this discussion?

I have an AT&T femtocell (Microcell) device in my Santa Clarita home to compensate for inadequate cellular coverage. It cost $200 2 years ago and the current version only supports 3G GSM rather than 4G LTE.

Speaking from experience, it's not an adequate or reliable substitute for LTE service of adequate strength for a direct network connection.

What does "proactive" mean in context to a cell provider network? If you have business experience with networks, it would equate to planned infrastructure upgrades to support projected growth. If you don't plan, you'll be faced with the issues AT&T had upon introduction of the iPhone. Having an exclusive contract with Apple is the only way they were shielded from the consequences.

Business that don't plan for future growth or changes in the market become irrelevant prior to bankruptcy/takeover.

technologist: Posted: March 8, 2014 4:36 p.m.

By the way, do you know the address or coordinates on Fairview Ave. where the tower will be placed? I'd like to track the property values prior and subsequent to construction.

bqd: Posted: March 8, 2014 7:13 p.m.

Grandview and Fairview are the cross-streets in the Northbridge subdivision. The plan is to keep them from building the tower.

You can track any properties next to any cell towers that currently exists. Find the date the cell tower was constructed and look at the pre and post date property values. Keep an eye on the DOM (Days on Market) and how the price continually drops because owners have a hard time selling their properties next to cell towers. Even when it was a seller's market, their property values went down.

bqd: Posted: March 8, 2014 7:19 p.m.

"Business that don't plan for future growth or changes in the market become irrelevant prior to bankruptcy/takeover."

Being "proactive" is a great thing when done responsibly. What they propose is reckless, sloppy and a lazy approach to a solution. That's exactly why they should invest in technology that does not negatively impact property values.

Jen: Posted: March 9, 2014 9:01 p.m.

I have to agree with bqd. It will decrease property value. It will also look awful. I too live in Northbridge and bought here because no overhead power lines. It was important to me. If it's not to others, that's fine, but I do not want a cell tower so close to a school and houses. Residents should have a right to choose to live near one or not. @ricketzz, if your community is fine with it, then have it. Don't force it on others. I called the DWP and they told me that they can not say no to a cell company to lease their land, even if they don't agree with the location. AT&T tried other in industrial areas and they said no. This was easy for AT&T. Their presentation was ill prepared and sloppy. The coverage they showed will not increase much in this neighborhood. If they were able to increase coverage in this area by putting up a cell tower in an industrial area, why not look further for another landlord. The coverage is not perfect here, but we do get 4G. @technologist, if you don't get what you want out of your cell phone provider go to another one. If you and your neighbors are fine with a cell tower 200 feet from your backyard, then call them... it shouldn't be pushed upon neighborhoods that don't want it. I would have to say, a minimum of 95% of Northbridge doesn't want it here, No cell tower!

ricketzz: Posted: March 10, 2014 7:16 a.m.

Do you know there are oil wells on the Beverly Hills High School campus? Now that's something that would make me think twice!

If you bought your house because of no power lines what is the tower the mobile company wants to use carrying? Eventually the cells will be so small you won't notice them, and a lot of the big stuff will come down. But while we will have more ambient radiation (actual menace) at street level, the view will be unmolested by technology.

bqd: Posted: March 10, 2014 7:29 a.m.

ricketzz, the point is that Cell Towers have a negative impact on property values, whether you think they emit radiation or not.

Cell Towers, like power lines, are known as External Obsolescence in Real Estate and Real Estate Appraisers use that in their appraisals. By definition, they are defects outside the control of the owner/tenant that negatively impact property values.

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