A big push for more cell towers | May 13, 2011 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

News - May 13, 2011

A big push for more cell towers


by Daniel DeBolt

AT&T is proposing a slew of new cell phone towers in Mountain View in order to provide high speed 4G connections to the city's mobile internet users.

Three of the towers are expected to be approved by Mountain View's zoning administrator, including one at a church on Sierra Vista Avenue, another at an office building at San Antonio shopping center and a site next to hundreds of homes at Whisman Station.

"There's a real density of mobile users in this area," said Lane Kasselman, spokesperson for AT&T, about the church site, which is surrounded by two-story apartments and condos. "People have shifted from being mobile with their phone to using them in their apartments." The cell tower is necessary "to meet the demands of people in this area."

The Mountain View Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church at 342 Sierra Vista Ave. is in negotiations with AT&T over how much it will cost the phone company to use the site. There already are six cellular antennas hidden on the building.

To hide the new antennas, AT&T would build a 42-foot high structure 5 feet from the front of the church building. The symbol for the Seventh Day Adventist Church would go on top. Nine antennas would be arranged in a circle for 360-degree coverage.

Kasselman said the tower could eventually provide a data connection faster than many DSL services — a rate of 100 megabits of data per second. The technology is known as 4G or LTE, which stands for "Long Term Evolution."

Mountain View city planner Noah Downing said he had heard from 15 neighbors expressing concerns about the less-than-appealing look of the structure, the possible health impacts of the tower's radiation and how it could affect their property values.

A staff member of a church that shares the building, Calvary Chapel Mountain View, said his church was not included in the decision to pursue the tower. He could not say whether his church supported it.

Neighbors were similarly concerned about a proposal for a WiMax antenna on top of the First Presbyterian Church across town at Miramonte and Cuesta streets last November. The City Council eventually approved the tower after approval by the city's zoning administrator was appealed by neighbors.

Complaints that many weren't notified of the proposal at First Presbyterian have led the city to expand its notification efforts to include all residents within 500 feet of proposed cell towers, up from 300 feet previously.

Mountain View zoning administrator Peter Gilli was also set to decide on two other proposed AT&T 4G cell antenna installations after the Voice went to press. One could be built at 364 Ferguson Dr., a Cisco server farm surrounded by a growing Whisman neighborhood of row homes and town houses. The other could go atop 2570 West El Camino Real, an office building at San Antonio shopping center. See mv-voice.com for follow up reports.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com


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