City of Tustin Caves to Legal Pressure and Allows Cell Tower Application
See post below for details



T-Mobile and the City of Tustin planned to erect a 65 foot cell phone tower at the back end of the park near the gate to Peters Canyon Elementary school. The proposal received approval from the Tustin Zoning Commission despite vigorous opposition at the public meeting on Wednesday, October 20th. Due in large part to additional opposition raised by local residents in the days following this meeting, and at the request of Tustin City Council Member Doug Davert, the Zoning Commission decision was vacated on October 27th, and a public hearing before the Planning Commission was set for December 14, 2010, to allow for additional public input.

T-Mobile has redesigned the proposed installation to look like 3, 45' tall flag poles located in the parking area of the park. While this is a better design, it will only accommodate their equipment and, if another carrier wants to place an installation in the park additional towers must be built.


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Let them know you are not happy about this!


Write an email to Robert Dotson the President of T-Mobile or Jim Ailing the COO.

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Our Position

We are not opposed to the use of cell phones and wireless technology, and acknowledge that cell phone coverage in the Peters Canyon area of Tustin Ranch is sub-standard. However, we feel that Cedar Grove Park is no place for a cell tower due to its historic significance, scenic beauty, and close proximity to Peters Canyon Elementary and Pioneer Middle Schools. We also feel that a tower at this location will have a negative impact on property values of homes nearby. Once it is done, it cannot be undone.

Desired Goal

Our goal is to convince the Planning Commission, Tustin City Council, and T-Mobile to consider alternate sites for a cell tower to serve the needs of the Peters Canyon area that will have less negative impact on the neighboring communities.

Many cities around Southern California are in battles with their city officials and T-Mobile, or other cell service providers, due to the proliferation of cell towers in residential neighborhoods. Often the first notice residents have of a tower going up is when the construction crews arrive to start breaking ground. We advocate greater transparency in the selection process of these sites and inclusion of the local residents in the final approval to assure that the best possible site is selected and the negative impacts to the community are minimized.

An alternate location for a cell installation exists just 400 yards from Cedar Grove Park at the Orange County Fire Authority complex on Jamboree Road. Two cell towers have been approved for construction there and Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have already agreed to place their equipment at this facility. We feel T-Mobile should do the same.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City Council Affirms Cell Tower Denial

In the final chapter of the Cedar Grove Park cell tower saga, the Tustin City Council voted 3-2 last night to uphold the denial of T-Mobile's cell tower application for Cedar Grove Park.  With this vote the issue is finally put to rest.  There will be no cell tower in Cedar Grove Park.

Mayor Amante raised several objections to the denial, and forced a vote on the issue separate from the rest of the items on the agenda.  The vote was split 3-2 in favor of affirming the denial of the application with Councilman Murry siding with Amante as he did on the original vote.

T-Mobile's representative was allowed an opportunity to speak to the council again to state his case.  He made several pleas to allow the project to move forward and even threatened to place a tower on the sidewalk in the public right-of-way if he did not get the location in the park.

In the end, however, council members Nielsen, Gavello, and Gomez were unwavering in their support for the denial. 

The members of the SaveCedarGovePark organization wish to thank all of the supporters who have assisted the campaign to stop this tower in our local park.  This victory shows that individuals still have the power to control what happens in their communities if they are willing to stand up and be heard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

City Council Denies Cell Tower!

In a 3-2 vote tonight the Tustin City Council denied T-Mobile's application to install the flagpole cell tower in Cedar Grove Park.  Council members Gavello, Gomez, and Nielsen voted against the installation while members Murray and Amante voted for it.

The city staff was directed to compile findings to present at the next council meeting that will be entered into the public record as grounds for denial of the application.

Thoughtful commentary was provided by each of the council members.  In particular, Mayor Amante raised interesting questions about what the city's position will be going forward in regard to cell tower placement on city property.

For the moment, however, it would appear that Cedar Grove Park will be free of cell tower installations for the foreseeable future.

Thank you to all of the supporters who attended the meeting tonight.  We had an excellent turnout and demonstrated to the City Council that we are concerned residents who take pride in our neighborhood and want to protect the natural beauty of our parks!

City Council Meeting TODAY

Please attend the Tustin City Council meeting tonight to hear final arguments on the proposed cell site at Cedar Grove Park.

Tustin City Hall, City Council chambers
300 Centennial Way, Tustin
7:00 pm

Sunday, October 16, 2011

City Staff Report for Tuesday Oct. 18th Meeting

A copy of the Tustin City Staff report for the upcoming City Council Meeting on Tuesday October 18th may be downloaded from the following link:

Staff Report 10-14-11

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tustin City Council to Make Decision on Oct. 18th, 2011

The Tustin City Council will make what could be the final ruling on the decision to put a T-Mobile cell site in Cedar Grove Park next Tuesday, October 18th, at 7:00 pm.

This decision was postponed at the July 19th City Council meeting in order for the council to consider all of the information they had received from T-Mobile and those opposed to the installation.  At that meeting, Tustin Mayor Jerry Amante asked the City staff to gather specific information to present to all of the council members so that they would be sufficiently informed to make a decision on the cell tower installation.

Specifically, he asked for:

1) Information on line of sight of a cell tower at the OC Fire Authority location,
2) Information on the cell site at the Salvation Army and the light pole T-Mobile location on Tustin Ranch Road in front of the Tustin Golf Course and their coverage,
3) Information on whether the design of the Cedar Grove site meets AT&T’s needs should AT&T take over the site in a merger deal with T-Mobile,
4) A report on the status of AT&T / T-Mobile merger,
5) The council to review a case out of Washington that was provided to them as precedent for this installation,
6) A determination on whether the Cedar Grove site meets the design criteria set by ATS regarding co-location of multiple carriers,
7) A report on the status of the cell tower installation at the OCFA and which cell carriers have agreed to locate there,
8) Information on what effect tree growth around the proposed towers at Cedar Grove would have on the coverage provided by that site.

Councilwoman Gomez also requested additional information on all of the data regarding coverage of the other cell towers in the area.
The report by the city planning staff should be coming out by Friday of this week and a link will be posted to it on this blog when it becomes available.

Please attend the city council meeting next Tuesday to express your opinion on this issue.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

City Council Postpones Decision on Cell Towers until October

 On Tuesday, June 19, the City Council held a Public Hearing on T-Mobile's application to install a cell facility in Cedar Grove Park.  Two Council members indicated they would not approve the application, but the other 3 needed more information before they could render a decision. The Hearing has been continued 90 days to October 18, 2011 at 7pm to allow City Staff time to get the information requested.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

City Council to Decide on Cedar Grove Cell Towers July 19th.

The proposed T-Mobile cell tower installation for Cedar Grove Park will come before the Tustin City Council on July 19th, 2011. 

The City Council's decision will be the final word on this installation.  If approved, the project will move forward and there will be a cell tower in Cedar Grove Park.

Please attend the meeting and voice your opinion on this installation.

July 19, 2011, 7:00 pm
Tustin City Hall Council Chambers
300 Centennial Way, Tustin CA

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mayor Pro Tem Nielsen Calls for Public Hearing

Mayor Pro Tem John Nielsen has asked that a public hearing be granted to hear arguments before the City Council regarding the proposed T-Mobile cell tower installation in Cedar Grove Park.  This action, in effect, carries the same weight as filing an appeal of the Planning Commission decision of April 26, 2011, that approved the design.

The Save Cedar Grove Park Committee received word of Nielsen's action on the appeal filing deadline, May 7, 2011.  The Committee had an appeal prepared and was set to file it with the city clerk on Friday.

THANK YOU to all who wrote to the council members expressing your opinion on this issue.  The volume of letters and emails they received obviously has convinced them that they must listen to our concerns.

According to Tustin City Code, the hearing before the City Council must occur within 60 days of the filing date.  Therefore, expect the hearing to take place sometime before July 6, 2011. 

Please stay vigilant and watch this website for updates.  The City Council hearing will be OUR FINAL OPPORTUNITY to kill this installation once and for all.  We must have a large turnout to convince them that a cell site does not belong at Cedar Grove Park!

The request for a hearing relieved us from the $1500 fee required for filing the appeal.  Therefore, we will gladly refund the donations of anyone who contributed during our recent round of fund raising.  Donations retained will go toward defraying the cost of signs and leaflets created to notify residents of the upcoming City Council hearings once they are scheduled.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Save Cedar Grove Park Committee to Appeal Decision

The members of the Save Cedar Grove Park Committee have decided to appeal the Planning Commission's approval of T-Mobile's cell tower design for Cedar Grove Park.

The appeal must be filed by May 6th.  The filing fee charged by the city for this privilege is $1500.

If you would like to donate to help defray this cost please do so by clicking on this PAYPAL link and send money to the email:

Or, if you would like to donate by check, please email us at to make arrangements.

Thanks to all of the supporters out there!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

T-Mobile's Design for Flagpole Towers Approved

In a 4-1 ruling, the Tustin Planning Commission approved T-Mobile's new flagpole cell tower design at the public hearing last night.  Unless an appeal of the decision is filed with the city within the next 10 days the ruling will stand and T-Mobile will be given the green light to start construction.

Commissioner Steve Kozak was the lone dissenting vote on the panel and cited the inability of the design to accommodate additional carriers as his primary reason for voting against it.

Several residents addressed the commission with their concerns about the installation, but in the end they had no effect on the commission.  According to Commission Chair Jeff Thompson, the commission was only allowed to rule on whether the design met the design criteria set by the city for approval of wireless facilities on public property, not whether there should or should not be a cell tower in the park.

Tustin city code states that unless the decision is appealed to the city council within ten days the decision will stand and construction will be allowed to commence.

The Save Cedar Grove Park committee is reviewing the appeals process and we will post updates as they are available.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Planning Commission Staff Report for April 26th meeting released.

The Planning Commission staff has released their report on the new design proposed by T-Mobile for the cell tower installation in Cedar Grove Park.

You can view the report at the following links:
Part 1
Part 2

As usual, the Staff Report recommends that the Planning Commission accept the proposed design.

If you would like to voice your opinion about the proposed installation, please attend the Planning Commission Hearing on April 26th at 1:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Tustin City Hall.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Planning Commission Hearing set for April 26th, 2011

T-Mobile's revised design for the Cedar Grove Park cell tower will be reviewed by the planning commission on April 26th at 7:00pm.

Here is the information released by the city yesterday:

The applicant has redesigned the facility which now consists of three flagpoles with a maximum height of forty-three (43) feet located within the landscaped circle in the parking lot of Cedar Grove Park.  The three proposed flagpoles would replace two existing flagpoles in the same location.  Accessory equipment would be located within an underground vault adjacent to the flagpoles with vents screened by landscaping.  Plans and photo-simulations of the project may be accessed on the City’s website under the projects in progress section at:

The proposed project has been scheduled for the April 26, 2011 meeting before the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 300 Centennial Way.  Should you have any questions regarding the matter please do not hesitate to contact me at 714-573-3123, or Justina Willkom at 714-573-3115,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

AT&T To Buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion

AT&T has offered $39 Billion to buy T-Mobile USA from parent company Deutsch Telecom.  The deal will have to meet regulatory approval but, if approved, would make AT&T the largest wireless carrier in the US by far.

Just what this means for the proposed installation in Cedar Grove Park is unclear.  Hopefully, since AT&T is already planning to install antennas on the OCFA tower, they will shelve the idea of putting an additional installation in Cedar Grove Park.

We'll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.  As of this date the city has not released any information on T-Mobile's re-design of the proposed flag pole installation at the park.

To read more about the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger go here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

T-Mobile granted continuance at PC hearing

The Tustin Planning Commission granted T-Mobile's request for an indefinite continuance at tonight's meeting.  Basically, this gives T-Mobile the option of coming up with a new design and re-submitting it to the PC without having to formally start the application process all over again.  T-Mobile has stated that they will be changing their design from the 65' fake tree tower originally proposed to a set of three 45' tall flagpoles to replace the two flagpoles that already exist in the turnaround area of the parking lot.

Several members of our group, and a few concerned citizens, addressed the commissioners and reiterated that a cell tower of any sort would not be welcome in the park and that we would fight whatever design they propose.  We also presented the commission with an additional 207 signed petition forms stating opposition to the tower installation.

Stay tuned.  We'll post news here as soon as we have anything new on T-Mobile's proposed design.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

T-Mobile runs signal strength tests.

After weeks of stating that they have already done the analysis on the OC Fire Authority cell site and that it will not work for their needs, TMobile began conducting actual tests today to verify the signal strength at Cedar Grove Park and the OCFA site.  Many of you may have seen the large tower erected in the Cedar Grove parking lot today to conduct these tests.  Well, that's just a taste of what a tower in the park would look like!

It's interesting to note that they chose to erect the tower in the parking lot, not up at the end of the park where the tower installation is actually going to be.  Is it because if they tested up there they would actually get a poorer reading?  And what conclusions can be drawn from a test that doesn't actually simulate the real location?

They have been telling us over and over that changing the height or the location of the antenna by as little as a few feet can have a drastic impact on the coverage for a given location.  Currently T-Mobile claims that the OCFA site is inferior to the Cedar Grove site because their antennas at OCFA would be five feet lower than at Cedar Grove Park.  Five feet!  So what are we to believe?

Don't forget -  the Planning Commission Hearing is next Tuesday, January 25th!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minutes from December 14th Planning Commission Hearing Released

The minutes from the December 14th, 2010 Planning Commission Hearing have been released.  Although not available yet on the website, they are available HERE for download.

The following is an excerpt from the minutes detailing the tasks the Planning Commission staff has been directed to do before the next hearing on January 25th:

1 Health Concerns
  • Elaborate on studies done by the World Health Organization and American Cancer Society 
  • Provide more context clarification and background 
  • Is it possible to limit the antennas emissions 
2 Alternate Locations
  • Clarify the need for the facility at the proposed location 
  • Provide clearer maps on signal strength as well as simplified maps 
  • Can the OCFA site be utilized instead and only this facility be used 
  • Provide comments input from OCFA 
  • Provide more analysis on alternate locations explore other locations within the park 
  • How was the site selected and how was the site determined to be the best location 
  • Explore the alternative use of micro sites micro antenna networks 
  • Provide an independent third party analysis of the OCFA site to determine its viability 
3 Potential Hazards
  • Does the proposed facility pose a fire danger or an increased risk 
  • Is the school gate ever open before or after school 
  • Elaborate on safety concerns could the tower fall over 
4 Architectural
  • Aesthetic Impacts 
  • How will the project affect the historical significance of the park 
  • What design modifications would be necessary to accommodate six wireless carriers and assess the long term impact to the park of those modifications 
  • Clarify the tower height in relation to existing trees and identify the minimum height necessary for coverage 
  • Is there a maximum co location potential at this site or is it open ended 
  • Put up stakes on project site story poles to represent the project location in the field  
  • Provide photos and locations of existing mono cedars similar to the one being proposed  
  • The facility would intrude on the Redwood Cedar Grove  
5 Impact to the Park
  • How is the project site currently used and how would it be impacted by the potential facility  
  • How close to the cement path would the facility be  
  • The facility would commercialize the park  
  • It was noted that the proposal would not be consistent with the General Plan  
6 Public Outreach
  • What has been done and what are the results  
  • Summarize the 01 06 11 meeting between TMobile and the public  
  • Allow TMobile to conduct community outreach with residents to help them understand TMobile system and why Cedar Grove Park is their only option  
  • TMobile has failed to communicate the project to the public provide more public outreach  
7 Property Values
  • Provide more information on the potential effect on property values  
8 What are other cities communities doing with these facilities

As soon as we receive the Staff Report that details the answers to these questions, we will make it available on this site.

Friday, January 7, 2011

T-Mobile adamant about Cedar Grove Site

The T-Mobile representatives sounded like a broken record last night at the Open House they conducted concerning the proposed cell installation in Cedar Grove Park.  They had several tables set up to "educate" the community on the various aspects of the installation - design, coverage, technology, and safety.

They didn't have any new information to provide regarding the viability of the alternative OC Fire Authority site - even though we have been asking to see that analysis since the Planning Commission hearing on December 14.  They just kept saying "The Cedar Grove site is the only site in the area that will give us the proper coverage."

When asked where the data was that showed that the OCFA site would not work they claimed their RF engineer (who unfortunately could not make it to the meeting last night) had it, but, for some reason, it just wasn't available for the meeting.

They claimed that the OCFA site would be a good candidate to serve other areas, but declined to specify what those areas might be.  And when asked if that meant that they would like to be in both locations, Cedar Grove and the OCFA,  they said YES!  Wait, did I hear them right?  They now want TWO towers in our neighborhood????  How much more ludicrous can this get???

Stay tuned to this blog for additional info.

In the mean time - mark your calendar for January 25th, 7pm.  That's the date of the next Planning Commission meeting.  We need to show up there in force to convince the Planning Commission that we will not give up until this tower is DEAD!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

T-Mobile to hold Open House January 6th, 2011

T-Mobile will be holding an open house on January 6, 2011 from 6-8pm to discuss their plans for the Cedar Grove Park cell tower.  This is your chance to confront them face-to-face and let them know that we do not want a tower in our park!


Tustin City Library
Multipurpose Room
345 E. Main St.
Tustin, CA  92780

Also, don't forget to mark your calendar for the next Planning Commission hearing scheduled for January 25, 2011, 7pm,  in the city council chambers.