CARLSBAD — Sprint will be adding nine cell service antennas in a La Costa residential neighborhood, having obtained Planning Commission approval on Wednesday night.
Though city council policy dictates that cell phone service towers and antennas should not be placed in residential neighborhoods, Sprint’s application established that there were not any non-residential sites for their antennas that would cover the cell service gap in La Costa.
“Basically the area we’re trying to cover is all residential,” explained Sprint representative Tim Henion.
Instead of constructing a new tower, Sprint will be attaching its antennas to an existing SDG&E transmission tower at the site, which is located between Altisma Way and Via Villegas.
Residents who spoke at the meeting expressed mixed views. Some supported the relatively unobtrusive project, while others voiced concerns about the potential health impacts of having cell phone service antennas in their backyards.
“No one can say that it’s safe. Obviously there’s not scientific proof that says it’s not safe, but there’s no scientific proof that it is. It’s an experiment, and I don’t think our families should be guinea pigs,” said Karen Latiano, who lives near the planned site.
Assistant City Attorney Jane Mobaldi reminded planning commissioners, according to Federal Communications Commission regulations, they are unable to reject the application based on health concerns if the cell service antennas meet federal regulations, which the Sprint antennas did.
“I’m not a fan of putting cell sites into neighborhoods, but we can’t rule on health reasons,” said Commissioner Jeff Segall.
“I think the neighbors would agree, having a utility tower in the neighborhood is an unsightly thing, but they’re already there. I think adding the antennas for Sprint is probably a minor thing,” said Commissioner Velyn Anderson.
Planning commissioners unanimously approved allowing Sprint’s antennas to operate in the La Costa neighborhood for the next 10 years.