Rowland Heights residents fight cell phone tower at Mobil Station

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A group of residents is protesting the construction of a 50-foot cell phone tower proposed for the back of a gas station, saying the structure would depress property values.

Neighbor Michelle Nicolaus, who resides about 400 feet from the proposed structure to be built in the rear of a Mobil station on the northeast corner of Fullerton Road and Mescal Street, has led an effort to deny Verizon a permit to build the repeater tower.

Nicolaus has gathered 150 signatures on a petition asking Verizon to locate it somewhere else, she said.

“It will be an eyesore,” she said. “You walk out my front door and I’ll be staring at a cell tower. It will be so close to the homes it will drop our property values,”

A July 21 meeting of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning’s hearing officer in downtown Los Angeles was continued to 9 a.m., Aug. 18 at the request of Nicolaus and Kindgon Chew, past president of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council.

The RHCCC has not taken an official position on the cell tower. Nicolaus will bring up the issue Monday at the group’s community meeting. She’s hoping to bring about 30 or 40 neighbors to the Aug. 18 public meeting, which takes place in a hearing room in the Hall of Records, 320 W. Temple St., Los Angeles.

Verizon is asking for a Conditional Use Permit to build a tower that would include 12 panel antennas, one microwave dish, two fiber demarcation boxes as well as equipment cabinets and a generator. The property is surrounded by homes on the north, east and west and a small strip mall to the south.

Planning documents say there were two communications received before the July 21 meeting: one in support and one against. The county mailed 114 notices of the public hearing to property owners living within a 500-mile radius, county records show.

Documents show residents are concerned about the installation generating graffiti but that would be remedied by additional landscaping.

Nicolaus said she spoke to a subcontractor and asked if the communications tower can be added to an existing one across the street, which was built to resemble a pine tree. She said the answer was no, because additional antennas sticking out of the structure would foil the design and violate the CUP. Nicolaus has asked the communications company to build the tower in a nearby park instead, but was told the leasing of the land would be triple the amount.

“This is something that is not favorable to our neighborhood,” she said