Nearly 16 months after first reviewing the site plan for a proposed cell phone tower in Creekside Park, the Walnut Planning Commission tonight could vote on the matter.
Verizon brought its site plan and architectural review before the commission on June 15, 2011, but the item was tabled so that the telecommunications company could reconsider some design elements and look into co-locating the antennas to an existing tower.
On May 2, the commission requested that Verizon get a third party to review data related to the need for the tower for coverage. Further continuances were issued in August and September to give the consultants time to finish the review. MobileNet Services, Inc., finished its review Sept. 18, according to the city.
In its findings, MobileNet supports Verizon’s push to locate the tower in Creekside Park, as opposed to other locations at Lemon Avenue and Creekside Drive and at the southwest corner of North Lemon Avenue and Amar Road.
“It’s clear that the most significant improvement to the…coverage in the “poor coverage region” would occur if a site is placed at the Verizon Wireless proposed location,” consultants wrote in the report.
The other sites could aid coverage, but not as well as the park site because they are “heavily surrounded by terrain (hills) as compared to Location #1.”
City staff plans to recommend approval of the project, subject to conditions.
Under the proposed site plan, Verizon wants to install a wireless system it has dubbed the “Lemoncrest Telecommunications Facility,” which involves replacing an existing ball field light pole in the southeast corner of Shetland Field with a new 81-foot one.
The project also calls for six antennas that would be hidden inside the pole and related equipment to be located in an underground vault under the existing sidewalk area next to the parking lot.
Some residents in the neighborhood near Creekside Park have raised concerns about the possible health effects of a cell phone tower so close to where they live and children play, as well as potential impacts on property values.
Others in support of the proposed tower have said it is necessary to improve poor reception in the area.
The Walnut Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall.