Hillsborough residents oppose new cell towers

March 15, 2013 8:20:20 PM PDT
Angry Hillsborough residents are taking a stand against a plan to improve the town's cellphone service.

Hillsborough, a town with 11,000 residents and multi-million dollar homes, is a community where lamp posts are few, sidewalks are scarce and privacy is considered sacred.

It's also where Crown Castle Contractors wants to install communications equipment for Verizon Wireless, including 13 towers.

"Four of them would be on existing poles, nine would be new poles up to 45 feet high," Hillsborough City Manager Randy Schwartz said. "They would also be trenching seven miles of roadway and cabling eight miles or so of new wires overhead.

That has raised the ire of Hillsborough citizens.

"For somebody to come here and say, 'I'm going to stick up a 45 foot antenna in front of your house,' it's appalling," resident Kelly Miller-Bailey said.

Schwartz says the contractors are violating a city moratorium barring all new cellphone company applications. But last year, Crown Castle Contractors received the green light for the project from the staff of the California Public Utilities Commission, sidestepping the moratorium.

Schwartz cannot believe the CPUC gave approval without any input from Hillsborough.

"We thought of the disruption of construction work, putting in new poles, trenching seven miles of roadway, there should be at least an environmental impact review," Schwartz said.

Crown Castle has filed suit challenging the town's moratorium. Hillsborough has filed a counter suit and resident Miller-Bailey has organized a neighborhood group to fight the project. One of those new towers will be across from her child's school, another one in front of her home.

Earlier this month, Miller-Bailey and her group packed the City Council chamber and voiced their opposition against the contractors.

"They obviously don't care about the citizens of this community; they could care less about what we think, they're just trying to get this through," Miller-Bailey said.

The CPUC says it will now review and consider the staff's approval of the project. Crown Castle did not return calls for comment.


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