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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Zoning Administrator approves Aqua Hill Road wireless facility replacement


Last updated 7/29/2019 at 11:29pm

In 1997 the county's Planning Commission approved a Minor Use Permit for a wireless telecommunications facility in the 2200 block of Aqua Hill Road. The permit allowed Pacific Bell to construct and operate panel antennas from a 15 foot high monopole and to operate a transceiver station mounted on the ground.

T-Mobile, which now operates the wireless communications facility, desires to replace the monopole with a 16 foot high false broadleaf tree and on July 18 the county's Zoning Administrator approved a modification to the Minor Use Permit to allow the new facility.

In 2003, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors amended the county's Zoning Ordinance to add a wireless communications facility policy which requires a Major Use Permit to site a facility in an area with residential or agricultural zoning, but if a Minor Use Permit had already been granted only a modification rather than a Major Use Permit is required for changes.

The original Minor Use Permit had been approved by the Zoning Administrator in January 1997 and the decision was appealed to the Planning Commission who approved the permit in April 1997.

In 2017, County Department of Planning and Development Services director Mark Wardlaw approved a minor deviation to replace two cabinets with one new cabinet, to replace four panel antennas and four tower-mounted antennas, and to install four new diplexers, six new remote radio units, and a new six foot high chain link fence with green slats to screen the equipment. The 1.02-acre property owned by John and Loretta McNeill has Village Residential (VR-2) zoning.

The wireless communications ordinance included an amortization period for monopoles, lattice towers, or other facilities not camouflaged or designed as a false tree or building component. The modification approved by Zoning Administrator Eric Lardy allows the monopole to be replaced by the false tree which will blend with mature trees on the site. No additional equipment will be added.

In June 2018, the Fallbrook Community Planning Group voted 12-0 to recommend approval of the permit modification.


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