UPDATE A hotly contested “clock tower” design cell site in Menifee, CA was voted down by the City Council last Wednesday, according to Menifee 24/7. Local officials voted 3-2 denying AT&T the placement of the 70-foot tall, camouflaged site in Wheatfield Park.
Four city council meetings prior to this one focused on the proposed tower, with two of them recommending denial of the petition.
A final hearing will be held on December 18, when the city staff is required to issue a formal denial. AT&T representative Alexis Dunlap said they are unable to find an alternative site agreeable to both parties. The city proposed multiple small cell placements in lieu of the tower, but the solution was untenable to the carrier, according to Dunlap.
“It was determined by our radio frequency engineers that a macro tower is needed to close the coverage gap,” Dunlap told Menifee 24/7. “We may have coverage in the area, but it is not what is considered reliable coverage. Some users inside a structure or running an in-home business will not have the necessary coverage. In addition, some users may be able to make calls, but not do things like use streaming services.”
Two other macro tower options at Mt. San Jacinto College and Bell Mountain Middle School, were rejected by City Council. Another factor affecting a “no” vote is Menifee’s current litigation over ownership of their parks against a commercial owner, Valley-Wide. A tower placement on park property would benefit the commercial owner.
“Who’s the beneficiary? Valley-Wide, not the city,” one council member said. “The reason I will vote to deny is that we’re the regulators but they’re the property owner. It would be in our best interests to wait until our jurisdiction is approved. If we approve this now, there’s a good chance some of the money paid to Valley-Wide would be spent outside our city.”
Mayor Bill Zimmerman, who voted against the denial, said a lawsuit by AT&T is a distinct possibility, and one that could change the configuration and design of the tower.
December 10, 2019