The Jan. 16 meeting of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group included a recommendation to support a Major Use Permit for a public safety wireless communications facility in the 2400 block of Via Rancheros and formally a denial of a request for a Major Use Permit for a wireless communications facility at the Fallbrook Regional Health District’s Community Health and Wellness Center in the 1600 block of East Mission Road.
Eight votes are required to approve any recommendation, and if seven or fewer votes are in favor, the recommendation is formally a denial even if the votes in favor outnumber the votes in opposition. Steve Brown and Tom Harrington were absent from the Jan. 16 meeting.
Stephani Baxter, Jacqui Kaiser, J.J. Neese, Scott Spencer, and Debbie Williams voted against both cell towers. Lee De Meo, Eileen Delaney, Jeniene Domercq, Kelly Hansen, Jim Loge, Michele McCaffery, and Ross Pike voted to support permits for both towers.
Roy Moosa voted to support the Via Ranchero facility, providing an 8-5 vote in favor for that motion, but Moosa is the property manager for the Wellness Center site and abstained due to the potential conflict of interest so the motion for that permit had only seven votes in favor.
Both proposed facilities would utilize false trees, which was one reason for the opposition. “They said it wouldn’t fit the character,” said Delaney, who is the planning group chair.
The opposition also noted the lack of a maintenance plan for either facility.
Both applications have been filed on behalf of AT&T. Because both false trees would have a height of 50 feet, a Major Use Permit is needed to allow the variance from the 35-foot height limit.
The Via Rancheros facility would camouflage the wireless communications antennas in a false broadleaf tree. “It will fill a need for that area,” Delaney said. “It will also fill an existing need for safety.”
The personnel involved in the proposed Wellness Center facility may modify plans in an effort to gain approval from the planning group or they may send the project to the county’s Planning Commission despite the planning group’s official denial.
The Planning Commission may place conditions on a permit and could do so if the planning group requests specific conditions. The Planning Commission has the authority to approve a Major Use Permit, although either side may appeal a Planning Commission decision to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.