The Cambrian

North Coast advisors oppose tree-like cell tower proposed for Cambria's West Village

A cellphone tower disguised as a pine tree on Motherlode Drive in El Dorado County. A similar tower is proposed for Cambria.
A cellphone tower disguised as a pine tree on Motherlode Drive in El Dorado County. A similar tower is proposed for Cambria. Sacramento Bee file

North Coast advisors voted June 20 to follow the lead of their Land Use Committee, recommending that the county not approve Sprint’s proposal to install a 78.5-foot cellular communications facility over West Village at Sheffield Street and Hartford Drive. 

The committee had deemed the design to be inappropriate for the site. Next stop for the proposal would be a San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission hearing, according to county planners.

The council’s Land Use Committee previously unanimously recommended denial of the proposed tower, disguised to look like a tree, saying the project is incompatible and “grossly out of scale” with the surrounding single-family homes, would be “highly visible” from Main Street and affect views from Highway 1.

Concerned citizens have objected strongly in feedback to the council, finding issue with the proposed tower’s placement on a hairpin corner at 812 Hartford St., along with the project’s size, appearance, location in a wind “funnel,” impact on views and property values and perceived health hazards.

▪ On another matter, according to a straw poll taken that night, the somewhat bemused advisors want to know more before a proposed test parking project is placed near Main Street Grill.

The new design would require drivers to back their vehicles into the realigned diagonal spaces, rather than driving forward into the spaces as they are configured now.

The test project would restripe the area, reversing the direction of flow into and out of the spaces.

The council would like the Traffic Committee to study the issue before a decision is made, according to NCAC Chairwoman Susan McDonald.

She said county Public Works representative Mike Britton told council members that the decision to proceed with the test would be an administrative one, rather than a formal process requiring various hearings and approvals.

Several states and countries use back-in angle parking in some areas, citing increased safety because drivers don’t have to back out of the parking spaces into traffic. But the concept remains controversial and confusing to some.

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