The Planning Commission unanimously approved cell service towers for AT&T and Verizon Wireless on Tuesday with minor modifications to the proposals.
The commission added conditions to include aesthetic landscaping, such as trees, for both facilities. The AT&T facility clock tower must also be monitored and fixed within one week of notification from the city should it stop working.
The Verizon tower will be located on the southern portion of the Sanctuary Church property, at 26460 Friendly Valley Parkway, near the intersection of Friendly Valley Parkway and Sierra Highway.
The facility will include 12 panel antennas, 18 remote radio units, one GPS antenna, one stand-by generator and two equipment cabinets. The tower will be 360 square feet and 47 feet tall, according to city planning documents.
Thirteen local residents came to show their support for the Verizon tower, including several members of the Sanctuary Church.
Brandon Maddux, a youth pastor at the Sanctuary Church, said he had poor reception at his home near the proposed location and his workplace. He spoke of the time his grandfather had a stroke, and cell reception was so poor that his family had to take extra time to use their home phone to call 911.
Tom and Gina Thompson touched on how they had incredibly poor cell service reception in their home. Gina Thompson said she and a neighbor who lived two blocks away couldn’t even take a call without it dropping every few minutes.
“(The tower) will be a profound improvement to our neighborhood and our community,” Gina Thompson said.
Three local residents voiced opposition. Resident Caren Knott asked for the commission to postpone approval of the permit to build the Verizon tower, citing concerns about radiation that the site tower could have. She said scientific studies show radiation had increased significantly in recent years, and was concerned the radiation was close to areas where children play.
Commissioner Dennis Ostrom said the commission had done what they could to keep tower locations away from residents and schools. He said he believed the installation was good. Chairperson Lisa Eichman agreed.
The AT&T tower on 17615 Soledad Canyon Road, near the Antelope Valley Freeway, will be built in Canyon Country Park. It is slated to be a 12-foot wide by 12-foot long and 42-foot tall two-faced clock tower that will have 12 antennas.
The tower will be located along the southern side of the property, according to city officials. An equipment and trash enclosure to the west of the parking lot housing eight associated equipment cabinets will also be constructed.
The AT&T project won’t interfere with existing parking space in the Canyon Country area, according to the Planning Commission agenda.
The locations are final and don’t need further City Council approval unless there is a formal appeal in the next 15 days, senior planner James Chow said.
Currently, no other providers have filed requests to build towers, said senior city planner Patrick Leclair.
In Santa Clarita, an estimated 65-70 wireless communications facilities have been built by cellular companies operating in the valley, according to a previous Signal interview with Chow. The number is only an estimate due to a number of factors including towers being turned off or decommissioned.
Cell signal locations can be seen on crowded sourced coverage maps like those seen on Sensorly.com and Opensignal.com.