The Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a variance allowing a Detroit company to build three large microwave satellite dishes on an Eagle Rock hillside was issued in error.
Allmet Communication Services Inc., a telecommunications company, erected the dishes in 1983 after obtaining city approval under what zoning officials said were questionable representations.
Allmet attorney William D. Ross said the company operated in good faith and has a suit pending in Los Angeles Superior Court that seeks to maintain the dishes at the Eagle Rock site.
Meanwhile, the firm may continue operating its 25-foot-high, 15-foot-wide white satellite dishes until the courts rule on the issue, said Jon Perica, an associate zoning administrator.
Prompted by Residents' Appeal
Tuesday's decision came as the result of an appeal filed by attorney and former Los Angeles Councilman Arthur K. Snyder, who lives in Eagle Rock and represents a group of hillside residents there.
Snyder told the board that the dishes violate the Northeast community plan because they constitute an industrial use in a residential zone. In a lengthy presentation before the board, Snyder said that Allmet misrepresented itself to the city planning department by claiming its dishes were accessories to several other radio transmission towers already on the site rather than a new system.
"Allmet . . . came illegally, they came deceitfully. We feel its been hurtful to our community," Snyder said.
Allmet's attorney Ross denied that the dishes constituted an industrial use. He also said Allmet has invested at least $800,000 on construction at the Eagle Rock site and that it proceeded in good faith after filing applications and receiving city approval.
"There was nothing deceitful about them," Ross said, referring to the applications. "They're plain on their face."
The hillside in question has not been pristine since 1956, when radio station KIEV was granted city approval to built a radio transmission tower on the site. There was no community opposition at that time because there were few homes, Snyder said.
Learned to Live With It
Over the years, the area turned into a community of well-kept, single-family homes, and those who moved into the area learned to live with the unsightly metal tower, Snyder said.
In 1983, the city granted KIEV a conditional-use permit to build two towers of 305 and 250 feet but prohibited further expansion on the site. Allmet received city approval the same year to put up its three dishes.
The issue first came to the attention of neighbors in 1984 when they noticed tents on the hillside and thought that KIEV was throwing a party, Snyder said. Several days later, the tents came down, revealing the three dishes.