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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Planning Commission approves wireless facility on Pala Mesa golf course

 

Last updated 10/25/2018 at 6:52pm



The county's Planning Commission approved a Major Use Permit for a wireless communications site on the Pala Mesa Resort golf course.

The Planning Commission's 6-0 vote Oct. 19, with Doug Barnhart absent, allows Verizon to construct, operate, and maintain a wireless facility camouflaged as a 60 foot tall false eucalyptus tree.

The permit allows for up to 12 panel antennas and also for an equipment enclosure, which will be raised to avoid impacts to a floodplain and protect the electrical equipment from floods. The equipment enclosure will be 12 feet tall and approximately 135 square feet and will house a standby generator as well as ancillary equipment.

The project will also include approximately 425 feet of trenching for underground telecommunications and power lines.

The facility will be located near the service entrance to the golf course and will be accessed from an existing driveway which connects to Old Highway 395. Existing on-site vegetation and ornamental trees will screen the wireless facility from public view. The site is approximately 1,700 feet away from the nearest existing residence.

The golf course land has Rural Residential zoning, which requires a Major Use Permit for a wireless telecommunications facility and is considered a non-preferred zone.

Verizon evaluated a site on the Rainbow Municipal Water District property approximately half a mile west of the permitted location, but security concerns and proximity to nearby residential properties caused Verizon not to pursue that location further.

Co-location with existing facilities was also considered, but most of those existing facilities are pipe mounts between 15 and 22 feet tall on hillsides and co-location would require additional height to accommodate more antennas and equipment.

Verizon initially proposed a false pine tree but, when the Fallbrook Community Planning Group reviewed the permit request in October 2017, it was noted that pine trees in the area are disappearing due to the bark beetle infestation so a false pine tree would look out of place if other pine trees were lost.

The planning group also opined that the fencing around the tower needed to be more decorative. Rather than recommending to deny the permit, the planning group continued the project so that Verizon could return with an alternative design.

The December 2017 planning group meeting heard the proposal with the false eucalyptus tree and a concrete block wall replacing the chain link containment fence. A 12-1 planning group vote, with Bill O'Connor opposed, recommended granting the Major Use Permit.

The site's proximity to Interstate 15 required consideration by the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board and, three days after the Fallbrook Community Planning Group's endorsement, the design review board unanimously recommended approval.

 

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