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Association approves two additional cell phone antennas

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, on behalf of Verizon Wireless, requested two additional cell phone antennas on the existing monopole located adjacent to the fire district’s building. The new antennas will provide 4G cell phone service within the Covenant and income to the fire district.
The monopole, which is attached to the building’s clock tower, was erected in 1998 and the current height of all the antennas is 64 feet. It consists of three 9-foot-tall pipe antennas, one 6-foot tube antenna; two small GPS antennas; and one small 911 emergency antenna.
The new installation would eliminate one of the existing pipe antennas and add two 12-foot-tall 4G pipe antennas, bringing the height to 67 feet.
“Unless you have a new smart phone, it will mean nothing to you,” quipped Association Director Dick Doughty.
“This is the future for the mobile phone industry,” said Ted Marioncelli, who was representing Verizon at the meeting.
The Art Jury approved the installation of the antennas at its Feb. 22 meeting, but because it is more than 35 feet high, it must also get approval by the Association, which it did at its March 3 meeting. It benefits the fire department because Verizon pays rent on the antenna to the fire district.
“I drive down El Fuego all the time and I never noticed,” board member Anne Feighner said. “To me, it has zero impact.”
The fire department is located on El Fuego near La Granada, just behind the R. Roger Rowe School.
Charlie Knust, communication manager for the North County Dispatch Center housed at the fire station in Rancho Santa Fe, said the monopole used by Verizon is not the same as the one used for 911 dispatchers.
“The fire station has its own on top of the administration building,“ he said.
He said 22 dispatchers provide emergency service to every city in North County except Escondido.
Director Jack Queen cautioned the rest of the board.
“We must be prudent, we are not building a precedent,” he said of installing the antenna.