The Pinole Valley Cell Tower Battle Rages On
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A dedicated and hard working group of Pinole citizens who oppose the Verizon Cell Tower in Pinole Valley Park has very been busy contacting elected officials, visiting county offices, looking up maps, records and contracts, researching land grants, contacting the California Parks Department as well as speaking to members of the Indian Nation in an attempt to stop the proposed Verizon Cell Tower in Pinole Valley Park.
At last night’s Council meeting, resident Sal Spataro may just have knocked it out of the park, literally.
He stated at the meeting that members of the group have been in contact with the State of California Parks and Recreation Department. The State’s Senior Project Officer, after some research, has advised Sal and the group that Pinole Valley Park is protected by the State because the property was purchased with grant money and that the land is restricted for recreational use only.
Watch Sal speak to the council .
Should this new and dramatic development prove to be true, the City Council may have the ability to save face and reverse their highly unpopular decision.
This battle has stirred the passion of Pinole residents on several different levels. Some oppose the cell tower for environmental reasons.
Some oppose it for aesthetic reasons.
All are up in arms about the flawed process that has brought this project this far with little if any public input.
The group has addressed the Planning Commission and pointed out the flaws in the Planning Commission’s By-laws, specifically the lack of public information relative to the sub-committee’s findings (the PC sub-committee visited the site(s) in advance). The Planning Commission responded by revising its by-laws.
The group requested that the notification process be improved so that another situation such as the Verizon Cell Tower does not get approved with little if any advance notice to the public. The City has responded by including upcoming permit information in the weekly City Manager’s report.
This tireless group has made it their business to speak at City Council meetings and ask for answers to a multitude of questions regarding the process for approval of this project. The City has responded by saying that mistakes were made but to date there has been no explanation as to what those mistakes were, who made them and how the City intends to rectify those mistakes.
The group keeps hammering away. They want answers.
The Smoking Gun post shows the timeline for the project. Questions remain as to how a lease can be signed and executed without council ratification. How a lease agreement can be recorded without the Planning Commission’s knowledge and before they considered the Conditional Use permit (CUP). How and why the City Manager and the City Attorney signed off on the agreement before ratification by the Council. How and why Verizon considered the agreement signed on December 12, 2012, before Council ratification, to be a legally binding document.
These issues are mentioned in the Times article today.
There are many more questions that have arisen, far too many for me to list.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Those questions and the persistence of this group has prompted the City to schedule a:
Special Workshop for Wednesday September 11, 2013 at City Hall, 2131 Pear Street, start time is 6:00 PM.
The City will try to address the questions of the group.
The citizens have indicated that they want answers, not excuses.