AT&T's quest to plant cellular towers and Wi-Fi antennas in Palo Alto has proved taxing for company officials, city staff and concerned residents around the proposed sites.
On Thursday, the city dealt AT&T's plans a blow when the Architectural Review Board panned the company's plans to install a cell tower at 1095 Channing Ave., property owned by the St. Albert the Great Church. The board demanded more information about the design and voted 4-1 to continue the item to a later date.
Board members asked company officials to provide a floor plan for the proposed facility and to give them more information about lighting and materials.
Board member Judith Wasserman, the sole dissenter, said the design has "no redeeming architectural value" and called for AT&T to start over altogether.
"I just think it's a poor design," Wasserman said. "In order for this to work architecturally, it's got a long way to go."
The proposed cell tower has already received tentative approval from the city's planning department. Residents around the church protested the plan, prompting a series of public hearings. The city's Planning and Transportation Commission is scheduled to review the proposal on May 4.
The Thursday hearing capped a week of mixed results for AT&T, which has several proposals in the city's pipeline. The City Council approved on Monday night AT&T's request to install Wi-Fi antennas on the sixth-floor balcony of Hotel President on University Avenue but only after AT&T agreed not to go through residents' apartments to install or maintain the antennas.
To comply with this condition, AT&T employee will likely have to use a cherry picker to reach the balconies on University Avenue, taking up parking spots on the city's busiest commercial strip while work is done.
Planning & Community Environment Director Curtis Williams told the council this week that the city is anticipating more cell-tower applications and proposed a study session to discuss the myriad contentious issues around the subject, including visual impact, public-outreach requirements and the antennas' impacts on property values.