Tuesday, December 01, 2015 • 03:48

Commission modifies use permit for Lake Wohlford

A tree similar to the one above will be installed on North Lake Wohlford Road.
April 30, 2014
The county's Planning Commission modified a Major Use Permit for a wireless telecommunication facility in the 26700 block of North Lake Wohlford Road.

A 6-0 Planning Commission vote April 11, with Leon Brooks absent, allows AT&T to construct a 45-foot tall false broadleaf tree with 12 panel antennas, 12 remote radio units, and six tower-mounted amplifiers along with an equipment enclosure. AT&T will also remove the existing four panel antennas, which are mounted on the 10 foot wide double crossarms of the 43'8" tall San Diego Gas & Electric utility pole.

The 5.1-acre property has A72 general agricultural zoning and a semi-rural land use designation, and in addition to the existing wireless facility the parcel has a single-family residence and accessory structures. The Planning Commission granted the original use permit for the panel antennas on the SDG&E pole, along with above-ground equipment cabinets in April 2004. At that time the Planning Commission also granted a height exemption, since the antennas exceeded the 35-foot height limit allowed by that land's zoning. In July 2009 an application was filed for a modification which would have added four additional equipment cabinets, although due to a potential merger of wireless carriers that application was withdrawn in March 2010.

The new wireless facility and equipment enclosure will be located near the western area of the parcel approximately 70 feet west of the single-family home. The remote radio units and tower mounted amplifiers will be painted green and covered with "socks" to camouflage the antennas while the branches of the false tree will extend at least 12 inches beyond the faces of the antennas. The trunk of the false tree will have a heavy bark texture. The rolling hills and winding roads of the area require a structure in excess of the 35-foot height limit for residents and motorists along North Lake Wohlford Road and Paradise Mountain Road to have coverage, so the Planning Commission also granted a height exemption for the new structure.

The design of the false tree allows for future co-location with other carriers. The equipment enclosure will measure 10 feet by 26 feet and eight feet high. A metal trellis on a concrete pad will be painted dark brown to appear rustic while the equipment enclosure itself will be painted with an earth-toned color and landscaped to limit the view from North Lake Wohlford Road and Maemar Drive motorists.

The work will also include the trenching of approximately 75 feet to supply telecommunications and electricity from the existing utility pole to the equipment enclosure. The other telecommunications and power lines running from the utility pole will be placed overhead and attached to a new pole on the parcel. AT&T does not currently have a design for an emergency backup generator, although the permit has been conditioned so that AT&T can obtain a minor deviation for the generator.

In August 2013, the Valley Center Community Planning Group voted 13-0 to recommend approval of the permit.

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