Last week when I came home I noticed a man in a cherry picker affixing a cell “node” antenna to a new line strung on the telephone pole at the foot of my property. I asked the driver of the L3 truck what was going on and I was informed that this location was approved as a cell site, and he pointed to several papers on the side of the pole, well placed below a hedge surround and just behind the lid of a Marborg recycling bin.
I’ve seen sneaky posting, but this took the cake. This came as a surprise as I had received no notice that this was even being discussed, and when I asked several of the neighbors if they knew about it they all gave a blank stare and said no. Later I discovered that several in the area were notified, but few in the 200-foot perimeter from the pole: Summerland has no home delivery of mail, and apparently, according to the County Clerk’s Office, many residents, like myself, were mailed notice only to our street addresses. Hence, without a Post Office Box, no notice. How convenient.
When I was talking with the clerk, she said she had found it unusual that there had been hardly any response to this location. Later that day, when my family got home and my wife saw the antenna prominently in eye line of our formerly unobstructed ocean view, my 12-year-old son asked me why this was considered not safe enough to be located by the school, but was fine to be in our view and 60 feet from our windows? Tough question that I still have no answer for.
Aside from the health concerns surrounding these extra-low-frequency microwave antennas, I have serious concerns about how something like this can be placed prominently, impeding the view from private property? I am on a duplex lot and if the lower duplex was developed, this antenna would be 25 feet from its kitchen window, just above eye level! There was absolutely no effort made to camouflage it, or locate it on Olive Street where the poles are already covered in various apparatus. No, right in front of my property with the big white antenna prominently swaying in the breeze with the ocean blue as a backdrop.
I don’t know whom to take to task for this, NextG, L3, Summerland Association, or the County, which cannot seem to notify residents that will be affected. If I do the slightest bit of unpermitted construction on my land I will have three County inspectors on the lot within an hour—but if a cell site is placed right in front of my nose, nada. What happened to the rights of the property owners to protect the value of their land? What happened to a knock on the door or a flier posted on the surrounding homes? Where is my right to quiet enjoyment without looking out the window at the tip of a cell antenna which almost immediately triggers a Tourette’s reaction? And why is County staff so determined to do NextG’s bidding?—C.P.Curran