Menlo Park nixes T-Mobile cell tower in park


You can't hear me now: Menlo Park has yanked T-Mobile's application to mount a cell phone antenna on a light pole in Nealon Park.

"After further reviewing the potential value and impact of an antenna in the park, the City determined to no longer authorize T-Mobile's application, making the use permit application null and void. A representative of T-Mobile has been notified of the City's decision," project planner Kyle Perata wrote in an email to the City Council and other interested parties on Wednesday (June 1).

City Manager Glen Rojas said aesthetics and safety were the main concerns about allowing an antenna in park within a residential area.

"We talked at the department head level about the pros and cons of putting cell towers in parks, and felt that was not an appropriate place to put it," Mr. Rojas said.

A representative of Nealon Neighbors Against Cell Towers (NNACT) said the news delighted the group.

Joshua Hart, describing the proposed antenna's location near a playing field and a nursery school as "about the most inappropriate location imaginable," said he didn't believe it was coincidence that the decision came a day after the World Health Organization released a report labeling cellphones as possible carcinogens, a ranking shared by coffee, gasoline, and pickled vegetables.

Mr. Hart sees Menlo Park's decision as a sign of things to come. "As residents and elected officials become more aware of the health threat posed by wireless radiation, including cell phones, towers, wi-fi and smart meters, we expect that this is just the beginning of a widespread backlash against wireless technology," he said.

Members of NNACT, along with other community activists, peppered the city with letters asking officials to deny T-Mobile's application.

According to T-Mobile spokesman Rod De La Rosa, the company doesn't yet know why the city decided not to enter into a lease agreement for the proposed antenna, but he said that T-Mobile would reassess the situation and look for other opportunities. "We still need coverage in the area," he said.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by scare tactucs
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I never cease to be astounded by the level of ignorance among the Luddites who oppose cell towers. Do any of them USE cell phones? If they want to avoid risk, they should immediately throw out their own phones! The radiation emitted by towers is harmless to those on the ground.

I am not a T-Mobile customer, but feel sorry for those who are, as it will be increasingly difficult for them to make/receive calls.

Like this comment
Posted by Voice of Reason
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Sir, I am not a Luddite, nor do I play one on TV. I simply don't want the continued commercialization of park space that is also open space. What MP needs is guidelines for equipment in residential areas. For the record, I am a T-Mobile customer and Nealon Park area resident that has excellent coverage, so why was this tower needed in the first place? To provide coverage for Palo Alto, who needs more coverage. Do your homework before you start calling people names that simply don't apply.

Like this comment
Posted by PALLBEAR
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

There is a major campaign to reduce the use of cell phones and their popularity is declining as fast as Twitter and Facebook are growing.
The major paradox is that they defeat one another.
The newest cancer scare is to reach the ignorant and that encompasses the majority of voters and people who complain about the towers being unsightly. Total idiocy.
At the same time, reading is at its most desperate and crucial point of destroying the careers of most of our youth, that prices for usage are being considered to be raised to the sky (in these comparative times).
The problems the average person in this COUNTY worry about are so silly, they border on stupidity. Also, there is going to be a few new laws affecting the non political money holders. Those who are still not worried, are going to be by the end of next year.
That's all folks.

Like this comment
Posted by MR
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm


Who is behind the "major campaign to reduce the use of cellphones?" Actually, most tweets are posted from cellphones, not computers, so your comment that "their popularity is declining" doesn't make sense. Most kids (primary users of Facebook) also use cellphones to post on Facebook.

I don't understand your comment: "reading is at its most desperate and crucial point of destroying the careers of most of our youth." Could you clarify?

Also, I don't understand your statement: "that prices for usage are being considered to be raised to the sky (in these comparative times)." If you are referring to cellphone charges, we pay less than we did two years ago (with more cellphones and better coverage).

Finally, one note: It's not "there is going to be a few new laws affecting the non political money holders." Proper grammar is: there ARE going to be a few new laws affecting the NON-POLITICAL money holders." What laws are you referring to?


Like this comment
Posted by scare tactics
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I just looked at a picture (thanks to google maps) of Nealon, and it appears that the area is already pretty thick with utility cables. So the concerns about commercialization are both misguided and late! I don't know if Menlo Park has guidelines for utilities in residential areas, but seems as though you would not need anything new for cell towers, which are no more intrusive than anything else. And at least T-Mobile would be paying a few thousand dollars a month to the city, whereas I don't think PG&E et al pay a cent for criss-crossing public (and private!) property with their lines.

I expect that T-Mobile would not even try to install a tower at Nealon if it did not see a need for coverage in that area. Installing and maintaining a cell tower is expensive! I don't doubt that they will be able to find another home for the tower, maybe atop Safeway or another nearby building. With all the development being planned in Menlo Park, more towers are inevitable. We're not all going to stop using our cell phones!

P.S. I am not a "sir"

Like this comment
Posted by RobertWilliams
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes: 38 seconds).
Web Link

Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes: 23 seconds).
Web Link

2-page Press Release:
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by PALLBEAR
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2011 at 9:16 am

To "MR"

Even in our gilded area.
It is worse than the year the book "WHY JOHNNY CAN'T READ".
Read data of the amount of children who are grades behind....maybe not in YOUR kid's schools.
Do you know that the amount of foreign students comprise over 70% of the student body? Or more.
You can get your kid in an Eastern college still by buying the football team uniforms. THAT is still done.

Like this comment
Posted by PALLBEAR
a resident of another community
on Jun 4, 2011 at 9:18 am

Make that enrollment STANFORD'S....
I should not have been holding a cell phone with one hand.

Like this comment
Posted by interested observer
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

watched the web links on smart meters. Interesting. Would like to see your newspaper publish an article on the total exposure of a family to RF radiation from all common sources, i.e. microwave ovens, wi-fi, cell phones, smart meters etc. One would think in the middle of one of the most concentrated areas of scientific expertise this data is all available. If not on google then Stanford, EPRI etc. etc.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,691 views

Summer Cooking Classes - Free!
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,589 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,245 views

More Bad News: Downtown Parking Will Get Much Worse
By Dana Hendrickson | 11 comments | 1,124 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 987 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More