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Neighbors protest proposed cell phone tower

Original post made on Oct 1, 2010

Searching for better reception for its clients, Verizon Wireless hopes to install a 65-foot tower disguised as a pine tree in a city-owned pump station facility off I-680 in the northwest corner of the Bernal Corporate Business Park on Koll Center Parkway. But neighbors of the business park are objecting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 1, 2010, 7:54 AM

Comments (36)

Posted by Randy, a resident of Mission Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:27 am

Please, its a disguised cell tower not a dump site. I wish AT&T would put one in near my house, cell phone service sucks in Pleasanton. The person who states their kids play in the arroyo are in more danger from the items in the arroyo than from a cell tower, can you imagine the bacteria count in there! Besides didn't it say its a commercial area? Don't see the problem here at all.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link "The effect of distance to cell phone towers on house prices in Florida."

"The results of the research show that prices of properties decreased by just over 2%, on average, after a tower was built. This effect generally diminished with distance from the tower and was almost negligible after about 656 feet. "

The only thing, I don't see any discussion about the style of the tower in this article and what kind of variable that provides.

Posted by Architect, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:01 am

My professional opinion is that monopoles disguised as trees don't work well. We have all see them and they stand out even in the midst of other trees. Also the monopiine is likely to tower over existing trees to have clearance and unhampered reception. A monopole painted black. tucked in the existing tree canopy would be most desirable in terms of aesthetics.

Posted by Patricia, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

We have them here in Palm Springs and the towers are disguised so well you would never know they were cell towers...they look like palm trees. I'm with Randy...what's the big deal.

Posted by doozi, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:20 am

Really? We don't have bigger things to worry about?

Posted by Frank Capilla, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

I've seen these cell phone tower trees. They look great. I will be able to see this tower clearly from my home.I can also see the Koll business park and the Laguna Oaks subdivision.I built my home in 1982, before any of the above places were built. I think these projects are part of Pleasanton's progress and they look fine.
I'm more concerned about good cell phone service than I am about seeing a tower. Pleasanton is the "City Of Planned Progress". Put the tower up and let's enjoy better cell phone service.
Frank Capilla

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

As long as it's on city property in an industrial area, and they're doing what they can to disguise it, what's the problem? The people are already living next to an industrial park. It's not exactly beautiful as it is, and there are plenty of trees so the antenna is not going to stick out.

Posted by Oliver Heaviside, a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:51 am

Oliver Heaviside is a registered user.

Decades of research have failed to show any health hazard from cell phone towers or any other type of radio, TV, etc. Cell phones bring health and safety benefits - like faster calls to 911, better ability to call for help if you are injured, and an electronic 'leash' for kids.

Do any of the "concerned citizens" use cell phones? If they do, they have _no_ basis for complaint. Cell phones need cell towers, it's as simple as that.

Let's build the tower, and several more so we get great coverage. Any City Council member who delays it or votes against it loses my vote in this election.

The fake trees aren't perfect, but they're getting better, and when planted among other trees are not obvious unless you go looking for them.

Posted by Oh for Pete's sake!, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

The big deal is people in this town will fight ANYTHING. I think they just have too much free time. I bet if they wanted to put a new park in their neighborhood, these people would say it would bring more traffic and fight it. I am so sick of it. The amount of money this town is forced to spend trying to appease the personal interest of people who find a reason to fight everything is criminal. The people who cost the city millions fighting the Stoneridge extension knew about it when they bought their houses.

This is a community, people. You do not live here alone. Your personal agenda is not more important than everyone else's rights. You do not have the right to take away other's property rights. (Well through propositions, I guess somehow you do, but you shouldn't.) When they built you neighborhood, it effected the people who already lived here (do you hear that Kottinger???). People need to get a grip. The ugliest thing in Pleasanton,in my opinion, the new Fairgrounds sign, and it is a block away from the proposed cell phone tower that looks like a tree. Give me a break! You are ruining this town financially with your petty personal agendas, pretending that you are fighting for the benefit of the town when many of you could care less about the stuff they you don't feel effects you personally. Are those people who fought the Stoneridge extension fighting the cell tower? Are the Save Our Hills people in Kottinger fighting the cell tower? Did the people who are fighting the cell tower fight those other the church expansion on Hopyard a year or so ago or Merritt property development on Foothill which probably lead to a man suicide? I would think mostly no, except for the few who just plain fight everything because it is what they enjoy doing. People are not fighting for the benefit of the town and those who believe they are buying into the lie. If Pleasanton had all the money back we have spent on these lawsuits and propositions over the years we would have the money to fund the schools and not be looking for new taxes which the same people are fighting against and we need because of them! I love Pleasanton so much but if I ever leave this will probably be the reason!

Posted by Love Trees, a resident of Mission Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:06 am

I agree with most of you -- I wish AT&T would put up a tower in Mission Park in south Pleasanton so I can get better coverage! Sure, these fake tree/towers aren't perfect and you can pick them out if you look closely enough, but heck, we'd soon forget they're there and life will go on... with better cell coverage!

Posted by Ngo Loon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:23 am

I thing that I am never surprised about anymore is the number of complete loons we have in California, especially when it comes to environmental issues and NIMBY issues. People are constantly complaining about their cell phone reception but they scream bloody murder at the prospect of a cell phone tower within 10 miles of them. The environmental loons are constantly beating the drums for more solar power, but then scream bloody murder of the solar farm encroaches on a lizard habitat. Is California going to get real or is it just going to become broke and irrelevant? I guess we will see in about a month when we get to see if Californians elect a poster-boy loon, Jerry Brown, as their Governor.

Posted by Thomas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

Just curious. I wonder how many of the people complaining about the "unreasonable health risks" from the cell tower are smokers, drinkers or users of cell phones while driving?

Also, @Love Trees: If ATT put a cell tower in your back yard you would still get bad coverage

Posted by Get a life!, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

'Oh for Pete's Sake' said it best. . . You live in a community! When you compare a stealth cell tower (only 65 feet tall) to utility poles with wires dangling over the streets, or industrial parks, or highway sound walls or bright yellow painted fire hydrants or any of the dozens of other things we ignore every day, you have to admit they are practically invisible!

A friend of mine works in a 2-story building with a cell tower on the roof. While visiting him recently, I said, 'you must get good cell reception in your building'. He looked at my strangely and said 'Why to do you say that? I said, 'You have a cell tower on the roof'. He looked up and said, 'Hmm, I've worked here for 5 years and I never noticed?'

Stop complaining! Put your energy into something valuable. Do a better job at work! Volunteer at your local schools! Be a better parent! Just don't join the crowd and be a NIMBY. It doesn't help society.

Posted by Oh, for Pete's sake!, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Plus, the Planning Commission has spent over a year on the approval of a cell tower?? In an office park, on the site of a pump station, on the freeway. What an efficient group they are. How many "neighbors" are complaining in a city of 60,000+ And Kathy, how many pictures do you need? We have all seen these they look like trees and unless you are looking closely you don't even notice them. Those of you who don't know what they look like can rest assured you have passed them, and they look so much like trees, you don't know it! I don't have Verizon and I have great reception but I do know that good cell service is vital to a communities citizens and businesses. Maybe our cell service wouldn't be so expensive if the companies didn't have to spend a year on these no-brainer approvals. Geesh!

Posted by Charlie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Well, it's deja vu all over again. I think the story goes something like this...............

"I'm not getting good reception; if you don't do something about it, I'm going to switch carriers..........."

BUT ---------------- N.I.M.B.Y.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Michael Leonard, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

I hope that the city planner listen to the people who want the cell towers and not to the few uninformed complainers. I also wish that AT&T would install a tower. Their service here in Pleasanton is terrible. I can't believe that it takes so long to get an approval. There is better service in some remote parts of the world than here.

Posted by Michael Leonard, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

By the way you can write to Janet at or call (925) 931-5606 and let her know what you think and send her the link to this article so that she can see that people are in favor of the cell tower.

I also think that Dolores Fox Ciardelli of the Pleasanton Weekly Staff should learn to write better titles and focus her article on the facts, such as how many people were really against or for the cell tower and stop giving validity to the opinions of the complaining few.

Posted by Get a life!, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Commissioner Kathy Narum is just playing a game that I see in the government all too often. She's making the NIMBY's think that she actually cares about them and sympathizes with them. It's called pandering to your constituency and it's pathetic.

In the end, the planning commission will probably allow Verizon to build. Otherwise, Kathy and the rest of the commission will turn down Verizon, only to have thier decision reversed in federal court when Verizon sues based on the Telecommunications act of 1996.

So, Kathy Narum will look like a caring compassionate politician when running for her next office and Verizon will get their tower. UGLY!

Posted by Brian, a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

"Oh for Pete's Sake" needs to get his facts straight. Nowhere does it say the Planning Committee spent a year on this. I believe the article indicated the hearing on this was this last week. Get your facts straight and then maybe we can listen to the rest of what you have to say...

Posted by How Stop Junk Faxes, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Editor, or anyone:

Is there a way to stop all those junk faxes?
It is using up my ink film, which is costly.
Does requesting to have my no deleted just confirm that it is a real fax no. and encourage them?

Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Verizon already has a Cell Site at the Fairgrounds on top of the Race Track Grandstand. I know that the Fairgrounds already has several Cell Sites, maybe Verizon can simply improve its signal at the Fairgrounds location. If Verizon installs a new "tree looking" site in the neighborhood, will they take down the antena at the Fairgrounds, or do they need both?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I think this issue is silly. If you want cell phones, you need to stick antennas somewhere. I think the location is perfect. It's not as if the city condemned a backyard under eminent domain so an antenna could be placed there.

However, will people also please stop complaining about NIMBYs. When people, who aren't very rich, plop down over $500,000 for a home, anything that may decrease the resale value is a legitimate concern.

When I owned my $74,000 home in Florida, 5% of the value was $3700. Oh well, big deal. I would try to live with most things.

However, now that my home cost 10 times as much, 5% is $37,000. That takes a little longer to make up (probably more than a few months of work). I think it's pretty reasonable that there are quite a few NIMBYs in California these days.

So all you NNIMBYs (No NIMBYs ...), please try to understand.

Posted by Amanda, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Oct 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

At least the cell phone trees don't drop their leaves, not like some of my neighbors trees that I have to rack up...

Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Wow. Sounds like a simple solution. Put the tower in the neighborhoods that don't mind having it. The tower won't serve the neighborhood they're trying to put it in anyway. How about Laguna Oaks? They seem to want it and it will serve their neighborhood!

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Brian --

The way I read it, the Planning Commission has been working on this for a year:

"Lobaugh first applied for approval with the city in September 2009,..."

Posted by Oh, for Pete's sake!, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Brian, from the article above "Lobaugh first applied for approval with the city in September 2009" That is a year ago, that is a fact.

Pleasanton resident, it is not going in a neighborhood, it is going on city property in an office park with a lot of trees and an arroyo between it and a neighborhood. But you are right, many Laguna Oaks residents are no better than the NIMBYS in other neighborhoods.

For those of you that are worried about your property values, I hope you didn't vote to stomp all over the Lin's property value & rights! Or is it only people with net worths under a certain amount that are entitled to property rights and concern about property value being decreased? If it is decrease by millions, it doesn't matter.

Get a life, GREAT another lawsuit against the city to waste our money! We need to figure out a way to charge it back to the people who get us in these messes..

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Oh, for Pete's sake! --

How much property value was lost by the Lins? I think they just need to coordinate development with their neighbors, and not in a closed door session with the Planning Commission. They still have the same property rights as the rest of us. They just need to develop in accordance with city zoning and planning, and work WITH their neighbors.

I hope you're not suggesting that if you own land in a city, you have absolute rights over development on your land. I certainly don't want my neighbor to open a halfway house for parolees, or build a 7/11 on their property without conferring with me.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Steve and "oh for Pete's sake",

This was the first hearing in front of the Committee. Just because the City's been working with Verizon for a year to get the applycation to this point does not mean it went in front of the Committee before this.

Posted by PJ, a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

The "tree" cell towers really look pretty good and may actually improve the view. These are so much better than a steel pole, so why complain? If the "tree" can improve reception in the area (especially in case of an emergency), than be thankful that extra money is being spent to beautify a structure that will help enable us to communicate in the 21st century. And I agree - AT&T should be taking a lesson from Verizon!!

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I wonder how many of these people realize that there are two trees in the SE corner of 680 and Stoneridge (in the storage rental place) or perhaps the other tree sites that sit north on 680 between Pleasanton and San Ramon. And no, the fairground sites will not provide service in that area.

Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 4, 2010 at 10:14 am

Where or where is Karla Brown and HER valued opinion on this topic? I mean 98% of the people in Pleasanton could not even see her treasured "ridge line" that Measure D was fought over from their homes and yet these few folks in their homes over in Del Prado somehow can stall the installation of something as innocuous as a cell tower? "Oh for Pete's sake" said it best that we truly are a random group of self-centered, NIMBY individuals with little or no regard for the communities well being and are focused solely on their personal agendas and bent on some weird obstructionist mindset.

This should not have even made the news, it is a non-event. Build the damn tower!

Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 4, 2010 at 10:54 am

Oh yeah, just a quick tech primer. I'll assume most of you have heard the commercials touting "3G" wireless service and even a few speaking of "4G" wireless service. All of the iPhones/iPads, Androids, Palm's, Blackberry's, every other cell phone that texts, talks or downloads material from "the web" is an appliance that sucks bandwidth at a rate almost 200 times what was being pushed through the very same networks only 4-5 years ago. With more online video, mobile video conferencing, bandwidth hogging apps out there the current wireless networks transmission infrastructure is being taxed to it's limits.

When the next-gen 4G and (yes you guessed it) 5G wireless networks are introduced we will need an almost exponentially increased cell infrastructure to distribute and route all of this data floating around. The FCC has a whole spectrum currently about to be allocated to public emergency use, government and other 1st responders needs and some of that could get re-allocated to the various wireless providers. There's only too many tech companies out there working on this very issue of smart bandwidth allocation, more efficient usage of cell tower handoff and other ways to extend the current systems useful lifespan. For the time being though, building another tower to lessen the load of the network is the most effective method of increasing coverage.

...that was your Monday morning Geek Speak, thanks!

Posted by DanU, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

I hope they build the cell tower. Service in many areas of Pleasanton is terrible. This is a public safety issue since you can't place an emergency call on your phone without a signal. I think it's well worth the VERY minimal visual impact.

Posted by Scott, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

We need better cell service in Highland Oaks for basic reasons.
Work related and communicating with our children.
Verizon is listening to their customers - Thank You. If Verizon fails at this location, they should consider meeting with area Homeowners Associations as most have plenty of space near their club pool areas.

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

But Pleasanton regulation require that any tower be at least 300 ft from residential area which includes all parks and most common areas. Some site were installed before the regulation so they are grandfathered in. So this leaves very few locations to actually build these things in Pleasanton.

Posted by Newbie, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on May 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

What is the current status of this proposal/plan? Has it been approved or rejected? If approved, where can one find the plan to implement online? Cell coverage in Laguna Oaks is dismal!!

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