Association tables cell reception improvement and readies for town hall meeting

RANCHO SANTA FE — Although American Tower Corporation (ATC) was recommended as the finalist by the Rancho Santa Fe Associations’ finance and technology committees for cell reception improvement, Covenant members attending the Feb. 4 meeting voiced concerns about proposed cell site locations.

These responses triggered the board to table the tech committee’s recommendation and instead host a town hall meeting before any concrete decisions are made.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Garden Club.

“Residents are invited to attend a presentation on prospective cell site locations, radio frequency engineering and safety reports, and faux tree screening options,” said Don May, finance and operations manager at the RSF Association. “Attendees will learn about the project, ask questions and voice their opinions.”

Residents first shared their opinions regarding how the proposed faux pine and eucalyptus cell towers may potentially prompt property devaluations. Health concerns were also expressed.

Board members Mike Licosati and Philip Wilkinson, who also serve on the tech committee, listened to the concerns while explaining how their plan was to improve cell coverage while causing minimal impact to the community.

The faux trees, reaching from 45 to 90 feet in height, had proposed site locations at Via de Fortuna, Lago Lindo and La Glorieta. The first two sites are Association-owned properties, while the latter is right-of-way.

May explained how ATC was an optimal choice because of their ability to have multiple carriers on their site.

RSF Association Vice President Heather Slosar was in favor of a town hall meeting.

“We have a history on this board, which I think is a really good thing in where we ask our community to give us their opinion on various topics that we’re working on,” she said, adding how this history has included roundabouts and the Covenant Club projects. She continued, “We solicit input from our membership and obviously people don’t always like the answer.”

Association Manager Bill Overton told the board that they could have a town hall meeting with the ability to offer two or three weeks’ notice and to publish it in a variety of ways.

“There’s not going to be a formal vote,” Overton said. “We can do that easily if the board wants to go in that direction.”

Director Jerry Yahr agreed with Slosar’s comments.

“Allow the community to hear all the history because it sounds like they want to be involved,” Yahr said.

For Yahr, town hall meetings are about education and a chance for members to share their views. He wanted to ensure that residents wouldn’t feel rushed into the decision making process because that wouldn’t be fair to the community.

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