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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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.

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.