Updated: County board allows Verizon tower along Fairview

The Guerra family and Stone Creek Properties have proposed a 1,092-unit housing project near the intersection of Fairview, Hillcrest and Sunnyslope roads.

The county board is upholding a planning commission decision to allow a Verizon Wireless tower at the Sunnyslope Water District tanks along Fairview Road.
County supervisors Tuesday considered an appeal in opposition of approved Verizon Wireless equipment. Board members voted 3-2 to uphold the prior approval, with Supervisors Jaime De La Cruz and Jerry Muenzer supporting the appeal.
The family developing homes in the same area had appealed a November planning commission decision approving the Verizon equipment at the Sunnyslope Water District tanks at Fairview and John Smith roads. The Guerras are involved with developing the Santana Ranch project to the west and the Peppertree Ranch project to the east of the proposed Verizon site.
County code would bar the Verizon equipment from being installed within 500 feet of current homes. But since the homes haven’t been built yet, the planning commission approved the equipment.
The county counsel will bring back an official permit at a future meeting with conditions of approval, such as a necessity for Verizon to gain legal access to the site.
The appellant and Verizon representatives had debated about issues with emissions and access to the site, while county supervisors acknowledged they needed to clarify the code. An attorney for Verizon during his comments, meanwhile, said data speeds are less than half of what they should be in this area.
That attorney, Paul Albright, stressed how the project is well within all Federal Communications Commission restrictions regarding emissions. He noted how the county cannot legally discriminate against a cell phone company and that the burden would shift to the local government to find an alternate location if it rejects the current one.
Albright said Verizon was four years into planning for the site. He said there was no need to grade a new road and the company is continuing, as a civil matter, to pursue the access part.
“Our issue here is securing the legal access,” the attorney said. “Verizon Wireless is very concerned about that.”
Frank Guerra acknowledged his family had an economic self-interest in the decision. Verizon initially approached the Guerras about putting the equipment on their property, but the family declined, said Guerra, who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.
Guerra said the developers already had installed a vineyard and irrigation system around the lots there. The closest house would be about 200 feet from the new tower.
“We consider that a residential development and we’re not going to play that down,” Guerra said.

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