Wireless service Tower on hold for Templeton

Plans for an AT&T Fixed Wireless Local Loop tower, on file with the SLO County Planning Commision.

TEMPLETON — An application from the cellular division of the AT&T communications company,  AT&T Mobility, to build a tower on a property at 790 Moss Lane in Templeton is on hold pending more detail on integrating the information age structure into the rural landscape.

After a recent meeting of the County’s Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG) Project Review Committee (PRC).

The initial request was for a leased installation of a 55-foot high cell tower near the center of an open 255-acre parcel at the corner of Moss and Redondo, with plans submitted dating to June of 2017.

This communication facility is for AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Local Loop. This is different from voice (4G) services that most people get with their cell phones explained SLO County Planning and Building staff, “This facility is to provide wireless internet service for residents currently lacking access to high-speed internet.”

After the Committee’s Sept. 6 meeting PRC Chair Chris Colbey summed up the application for the rest of the TAAG in a report noting, “This is an example of a fairly common application for the installation of a cell tower (here, monopole and accompanying equipment structure) which the applicant represents will improve signal strength and coverage.”

However, the PRC and agents of the applicant had some back and forth on disguising the tower in an appropriate manner, a practice known as “stealthing.”

The PRC did not like the idea of erecting the pole inside a fake pine tree, inconsistent with vegetation in the area, “apparently a false oak tree of that size was also not feasible,” read the report.

After the regular Sept. 20 meeting of the TAAG, the application is currently on information hold until the County Department of Planning and Building receives updated construction plans that include recommendations by TAAG.
Staff explained that the subcommittee recommended the project for approval with the condition that the monopole be camouflaged instead as a water tower.

Once an update is received said the office of department director Trevor Keith, “Planning and Building staff will evaluate the plans and determine if it will be accepted for processing. If it is accepted for processing, Planning and Building will evaluate environmental determination pursuant to CEQA. Once the CEQA analysis is completed, the project will be scheduled for a public hearing at the County's Planning Commission.”

CEQUA processes, reviewing applications for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, are notorious for the length of time they can take.

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Plans for an AT&T Fixed Wireless Local Loop tower, on file with the SLO County Planning Commision.


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