On 9/29/21, the Planning Commission of Carmel voted unanimously to deny Verizon’s application for a permit to put a 51’ cell tower in a Carmel-by-the-Sea residential neighborhood. The basis for their denial was that the proposed tower would negatively impact the neighborhood, violate city codes, obstruct views and jeopardize the aesthetics of the communty. The decision followed hours of testimony from residents who opposed the idea on grounds ranging from property devaluation and noise to the possible negative health effects and safety concerns from radio waves, fall zone and fire risks. Residents also sent hundreds of emails and mailed postcards asking Commissioners to deny the application.
On 10/11/21 Verizon filed an appeal of the Planning Commission decision with the Carmel City Council. The City Council will most likely rule on the denial in the upcoming November 2nd Carmel City Council meeting. Your comments in favor of upholding the Planning Commission’s denial are desperately needed.
If the city council overturns the Planning Commission decision and allows Verizon to install this tower, we will see a proliferation of cell towers in Carmel’s residential neighborhoods. Under federal law, if this Verizon tower is allowed, the city may not deny competing carriers’ future permit applications.
Cell towers raise noise level concerns, will decrease property values, and detract from the charm of our neighborhoods. There are a number of Carmel City Ordinances and General Plan Provisions that are intended to preserve our neighborhoods and protect our residents from this type of threat:
It is critical that all concerned citizens let our City Council know that their constituents do not want cell towers in our residential neighborhoods operating 24/7 outside our bedroom windows. Please contact your Carmel City Council members and Mayor Potter and let them know that you oppose cell towers in Carmel Neighborhoods, and that you uphold the letter and the spirit of our existing city ordinances and codes, by denying Verizon’s appeal.
Every day, in small communities like ours, cities are successfully preserving their values, aesthetics, and municipal codes from legal challenge by wireless carriers. Towns like Mill Valley, Encinitas, Petaluma, Calabasas, Danville, Palo Alto, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Diego County, and many, many more have successfully thwarted the unbridled and unmitigated proliferation of small cell towers in their communities. Tireless city attorneys across California have creatively and successfully crafted municipal code that does not violate the FCC or state laws. Several have passed legally permissible set back requirements, aesthetic regulations, lease term limits, under-grounding requirements, and mandates that wireless carriers must absolutely define and quantify, via verifiable third party investigations, so called “substantial gaps in coverage” and other hard to understand rational for cell towers. Mill Valley and Encinitas passed emergency ordinances and those are readily available on their city websites. The other municipalities have their revised wireless ordinances on their websites for public review as well. In short, there is much information on how to successfully draft ordinances that protect the values of a community while also providing alternatives for wireless carriers.
We are 100% certain that Carmel-by-the-Sea is even better positioned to maintain its authority in regulating wireless facilities in its community. Moreover, Carmel-by-the-Sea’s municipal code already gives it the authority to deny Verizon’s recent application, as it rightly denied it in 2019. A majority of those reasons are still viable and legally defensible, regardless of what Verizon’s counsel has asserted.
Learn more about Our Arguments.
The City Council is well within their rights to uphold the Planning Commission decision and deny the Verizon appeal. The STOP Cell Towers in Carmel Neighborhoods group has pledged to stand with the City Council and help protect Carmel from any future threats from Verizon.
An account has been set up through Carmel Cares for anyone who wishes to donate to a citizen-funded attorney that will advocate for the protection of our residential zones throughout the wireless ordinance process.