The new cell site above was erected April 21 in Brentwood along a designated scenic route section of Sunset Blvd. in the public right-of-way, and “was apparently installed without notice or any regulation,” according to the Pacific Palisades Residents Association. It bears no identification of the responsible party or installer of the pole, the antennas or other equipment (according to a witness, the antennas were erected by unidentified workers operating out of an unmarked van). The 6 ft. cross-arm extension supports antennas that hang directly over the adjacent residential back yard.
Current Los Angeles regulations (or lack thereof) have no specific protections for residential areas and contain loopholes allowing providers to install tall cell towers with little or no notice within a few feet of homes and apartment buildings. Installations like these have occurred or been attempted in Hollywood, Hancock Park, Silverlake, the Marina, Mar Vista, West Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades, Cheviot Hils, Tarzana, San Pedro, North Hills, and Sunland-Tujunga, among other locations.
An April 28 letter from one of the affected residents’ associations refers LA city council members to Glendale’s new ordinance as it states:
Telecom companies publicly confirm that thousands of antennas are now being installed at a rapid pace in residential public right-of-ways. According to LADWP, the City does not even know how many of these installations exist or where they are located. Responding to these alarming developments, within the past several months 40 NCs/CCs/HOAs/federations (including the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils) – representing 75 organizations and over a million stakeholders City-wide – have formally expressed concerns and/or requested meaningful reform of Los Angeles’ wireless facilities regulations (see, e.g., many letters/motions on file in CF 09-2645).
We recognize that Councilmembers Reyes and Zine have recently called for expanded notice of AGF permit applications (CF 10-0664). While this is a step in the right direction, expanded notice under the current AGF ordinance would have no effect on utility pole cell site installations such as the facility depicted in the attached photograph, which are treated as “exempt” and therefore outside of notice requirements (or do not involve any AGF cabinets or structures requiring an AGF permit).
Meanwhile, with input from telecom companies and residents, Glendale (a fellow JPA member) recently enacted “one of the region’s most restrictive sets of regulations for cellular equipment in residential neighborhoods” (from the Glendale News Press). Consistent with state and federal law, the new Glendale ordinance regulates cell site installations on utility poles and discourages the siting of cell facilities in residential areas (Ord. No. 5692). We understand that Burbank and Culver City are considering following suit. Glendale may be a different city, but Los Angeles residents should be afforded no less protections under the law than Glendale residents.
After the above letter was submitted, the Mid-City Wilshire Neighborhood Council added its voice with this May 11 resolution calling for better regulation of cell sites in the city of Los Angeles.