• Cell Tower Advisory Committee Presses for Compliance On CUPs


    The exhaust manifold for a diesel generator that would activate in order to provide auxiliary power to operate the 60’ cell tower located near the campuses of Valentine Elementary School and Huntington Middle School is located just six feet from the intake portal of a classroom air conditioner.

    Students and staff members  at the two school sites adhering to the district’s approved evacuation plan would be required to walk directly through the fall zone for the tower on their way to official check points.

    The cell tower located just west of Titan Stadium on the campus of San Marino High School is located on what seismologists consider an “active” earthquake fault.

    These were just three of many concerns confronted by a dozen members of the San Marino Unified School District’s Cell Tower Advisory Committee and administrators, who were allowed rare access to the Valentine/Huntington tower, which is located inside a secured area in the district maintenance yard.

    The original tower, installed in about 2006, is subject to a conditional use permit, or CUP, because it is located in a non-educational facility. Educational facilities on school grounds are not subject to CUPs. Verizon never obtained a CUP for its maintenance yard tower, claiming they were told by the City of San Marino that one wasn’t required.

    Because the company has so far been unable to produce construction documents for the tower, Verizon will in all likelihood move it or construct a new one to conform with local codes. The new destination of the tower will probably still remain near its current location because Verizon has the right to either build a new tower or move their existing tower within their 1,100-square-foot lease area – a destination that might be no more than a few feet from its existing location.

    Once back in the district office for  a special meeting of the committee, members voted to recommend that  the SMUSD send default letters to both Verizon and American Tower, which operates the structure at SMHS.

    The committee also voted to recommend that the SMUSD encourage the city to impose a 60-day time line on the carrier to comply with the CUP and include a notice of violation. Both motions were approved by unanimous votes of 7-0.

    David Saldaña, the City of San Marino’s Director of Planning and Building, was in attendance at the meeting.

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