Encanto neighbors fight to keep cellphone antennas off abandoned water tower
Cite health, aesthetic, and property value worries
Last Updated: 178 days ago
SAN DIEGO - Neighbors in Encanto have taken their battle to San Diego City Hall, trying to stop the installation of cellphone antennas on a water tower that was taken out of service and has been unused for years.
The water tower has not been torn down, likely because of the money crisis at City Hall. Now, there is a plan to install cellphone antennas and collect $33,000 a year rent. Residents say no way.
It is known as the Emerald Hills standpipe or water tower and has been abandoned for five years. Now, it is targeted to host a series of cellphone antennas for Verizon to improve cell phone coverage in Encanto and turn more of the red zones into green ones.
Residents want the tower gone for aesthetic and property value reasons. There are worries about health risks as well.
Kathleen MacLeod told 10News. "This is a Trojan Horse! I'm going to be hit with a double whammy … just the fact of the water tower then I have the perceived health concern about antennas and 36 of them? What is that going to do for my home?"
Gladys Knight is another homeowner upset about the proposal.
"It's like with Agent Orange," she said. "They said for years it doesn't bother anybody and then you find 30 years later, you know, my husband died from Agent Orange. You don't know what these radio waves are going to do."
Suzanne Toller, an attorney for Verizon, told the council that the antennas are the best option to optimize coverage and they would be camouflaged.
"As you can see, it is not a major visual impact," she said. "In fact, the antennas are flush-mounted to the water tank. They're painted to match."
The water tower is in District Four, the district of the newest council member, Myrtle Cole. She sided solidly with the neighbors.
"That is a blight," she said. "I was up there. I want that removed sooner if we could. I'll work on that later on. This truly is a blight on this community."
The council tabled the matter for three months while city staff develops more information. Most on the council, though, seemed ready to disallow the antennas and dismantle the water tower.
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