AT&T's plan to install 19 antennas on utility poles throughout Palo Alto will have to undergo an additional review after several residents filed letters appealing the city's approval of the company's application.
The city's Architectural Review Board (ARB) approved on Dec. 8 a proposal by AT&T to install the antennas -- the first phase in the company's plan to put up 80 antennas. The approval came despite opposition from dozens of residents, many of whom attended the meeting and protested the company's plan. Planning Director Curtis Williams had also signed off on the plan.
In the weeks after the ARB approval, several critics submitted letters appealing the AT&T plan. The appeals, which were widely expected, mean the AT&T proposal will now have to go to the City Council for approval.
Much like at the ARB meeting, critics of the AT&T plan urged the city in the appeal letters to pursue a more comprehensive approach for wireless equipment rather than approve applications on a case-by-case basis.
"This first application is part of a band-aid approach and does not represent the spirit of community and activism that Palo Alto is known for," Paula Rantz wrote in her appeal letter. "There is a reason that Palo Alto is such a beautiful community. It is because of the efforts of all that have come before us and we need to continue to be involved and have ownership of how our city grows. There is no reason why we cannot create a comprehensive plan for voice, video and data."
Stacey Bishop, a resident of Leland Avenue, also appealed the ARB approval and argued in her letter that the proposed tower at 1880 Park Blvd. would destroy the great view her family currently enjoys. Bishop noted that her family "purposefully placed second-story windows so that each window would have an unobstructed view of Peers Park" and had spent "several thousand dollars to bury the power lines outside our home for aesthetic reasons."
"The proposed cell tower at 1880 Park Blvd would negate all this investment," Bishop wrote. "Instead of seeing beautiful Peers Park when she looks outside her bedroom window, our 3-year-old daughter would be staring at a hideous antenna equipment box."
The City Council is tentatively scheduled to hold a public hearing on the AT&T proposal on Jan. 23.