News - January 12, 2011

Cell phone antennas proposed for Nealon Park

• Outreach meeting held with short notice.

by Sandy Brundage

Many Menlo Park residents may not know about T-Mobile's plans to install cell phone antennas in Nealon Park. They reportedly received little more than a week's notice about a community outreach meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 5, to discuss the proposal.

The meeting started at 6 p.m., making it hard for some people to get there on time after work. Those factors may have combined to explain why only 10 to 15 people attended the meeting.

But some of those who went said they found the presentation useful.

"I should say that meeting was a good one. I thought the people who held the meeting were forthcoming," said JoAnne Wilkes, who lives near the park. "They answered questions as best they could. In fairness to the people who did the presentation, I thought they did a good job."

No date is set for the Planning Commission to consider T-Mobile's proposal. The company wants to mount three antennas on lighting fixtures around the park's baseball diamond, raising them to 70 feet, and a radio cabinet in the parking lot behind the field.

Nealon Park sits between Middle Avenue and Roble Avenue. Residents wondered whether nearby El Camino Real might provide a more logical home for a cell phone tower, given that the park borders a nursery school and a senior center, as well as residential areas.

Aside from aesthetic concerns, a frequent fear voiced by communities considering cell phone towers is the perception that the radio emissions are linked to cancer. Experts, however, disagree on whether that link really exists.

Declining property values was also raised as a concern at the community outreach meeting — but that's equally nebulous. Rose Meily, spokeswoman for the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, said the group has not reviewed any validated research demonstrating cell phone towers have any impact on neighboring property values, negative or positive.

Menlo Park City Planning Technician Kyle Perata, who attended the meeting, said T-Mobile scheduled it at the request of the city.

The telecomm has not yet responded to follow up questions from The Almanac.


Posted by Mr. Cavil, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

I was unable to attend the meeting, but live near the park. I really don't understand why this location is being considered for these antennae? There's no other location in consideration? The letter from T-Mobile provided no information. This article provides little information. I frankly don't care that the presentation was considered "good" and the company reps were "forthcoming." I'll assume that it's essentially a done deal and that this meeting + article + future Planning Commission hearing = dog & pony show. Oh well.

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