Council Rejects Plan for Phone Antennas
Capping a four-hour hearing that pitted a neighborhood against two telephone giants, the Thousand Oaks City Council has rejected a plan to build a series of cellular phone antennas at Meadows Reservoir.
Council members voted unanimously early Wednesday to shoot down a proposal by AT&T; and Pacific Bell Mobile Services to build two wireless communications facilities about 800 feet north of Shadow Oaks Place and 300 feet east of Church Road. The proposal--for a total of 16 antennas--was rejected without prejudice, meaning that the phone companies can resubmit different plans and try again.
The council’s decision came after the city’s Planning Commission denied the plans last spring and the phone companies appealed to the council.
Residents argued that the hillside is visible from many parts of the city and that placing so many antennas there would ruin many residents’ views. The phone companies argued that they need to provide wireless communications services to all of Thousand Oaks, and that having antennas at the site is one of the few ways of making that possible.
Several council members became visibly upset Wednesday when, near the end of the lengthy hearing, a Pac Bell representative conceded that the company would be satisfied with a much smaller project on the site--possibly even one antenna. The council members wondered aloud why the phone companies had put them and the neighborhood through such a drawn-out hearing if they would have been content with the approval of much less controversial plans.
“I think I speak for the entire city of Thousand Oaks: It would’ve been nice to have that five hours ago,” City Councilman Andy Fox said. “To come in at the eleventh hour and make a comment like that, it’s really unfair to the community. Someone wasn’t doing their homework tonight.”