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La Canada Picks YMCA Site for Phone Tower

February 26, 1987|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

Overriding the objections of nearby homeowners, the La Canada Flintridge City Council this week picked a Foothill Boulevard site for a planned 75-foot cellular telephone tower.

The council's decision clears the way for Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co. to erect its tower on Crescenta-Canada YMCA property.

LACTC had received approval from the state Public Utilities Commission to build a cellular phone tower, or monopole, in La Canada Flintridge. City officials said they have no authority to override that but can mitigate the tower's effect by selecting an unobtrusive location and requiring landscaping and a fence to keep out trespassers.

"There has been a mandate . . . by the PUC. This is the best site we can put together," Councilman John W. Hastings said shortly before casting his vote for the YMCA site.

Added Councilman J. Bixby Smith: "It's a sort of a no-win situation."

Last year, LACTC proposed building a 150-foot tower at Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard, in the center of the city's commercial district. It also proposed two alternate sites, Foothill Intermediate School on the city's main thoroughfare and the YMCA, situated amid residential neighborhoods.

After discussions with local officials, the city and the company reached a compromise, settling for a 75-foot tower at the YMCA. The city Planning Commission approved that location Dec. 9, calling it the least of three evils and saying that trees would partly obscure the pole.

But local residents protested, claiming that the pole would be an eyesore and could cause soil erosion and drainage problems. Led by attorney Anita S. Brenner, who lives near the YMCA, the residents asked that the city consider alternate sites, including Cherry Canyon, an isolated wilderness preserve.

At a hearing last week, City Council watched a slide presentation by LACTC on the visibility of monopoles and heard arguments from a company attorney and from Brenner. The council refused to hear comments from other residents, however.

Brenner said this week that she intends to sue the city in an attempt to halt erection of the pole.

LACTC officials said the pole is necessary to provide reliable, static-free service to the estimated 80,000 Los Angeles-area motorists who use cellular phones in their cars.

In a related matter, PacTel Mobile Cos. agreed earlier this month to apply for a conditional-use permit for an antenna that has already been placed atop a 37-foot building on Angeles Crest Highway. If the permit is denied at a Planning Commission hearing May 10, PacTel would have to dismantle the tower or appeal.

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