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.