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Palo Alto Little League tries for cell tower again

Original post made on Mar 28, 2014

A community meeting held Thursday by the Palo Alto Little League and Verizon Wireless over a proposed cell antenna at the baseball field on Middlefield Road cleared up misconceptions about the project, but it was not a home run.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 28, 2014, 9:57 AM

Comments (40)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

Talk about dropped calls, I can't even get any reception! How on earth will I be able to call 911 if this is the case so yes please I need that cell tower. We have AT&T phone boxes outside our home but my carrier is Verizon so its only fair for safety sake and for a basic need of making a call!


Posted by Let's just build it, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:28 am

Here we go again. I was under the assumption that cities cannot ban cell phone towers. Anyway, Jason seems to ignore th comments of ken Allen competely. And he asks, since the site is " historic" should it be changed -- forgetting then that then that the story states it has passed a historic review-- he would then oppose fixing the bathrooms or the dugouts, since that would also alter the site.
Let's get this antenna installed for practical and safety reasons. And I hope this discussion does not turn into another " cell phones radiation is deadly" discussion


Posted by susam, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

The blatant drive to harm Palo Altan's health with wi- fi, cell towers, fluorinated water is alarming. The only reason politicians would deliberately choose to hurt is is because some one must be paying them to do so.

Susan Downs, MD, ABIHM, SM, MS


Posted by Let's just build it, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

Do you actually have any proof for your outrageous claims, susan?


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

...susam

Yes, lets all just ignore the facts that despite the wi- fi, cell towers, fluorinated water, vaccinations, etc. that people are living longer and healthier lives than any time in history, and the greatest *real* threats to our health are those that are self imposed.


Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

Gee, since the city would be making money off the Verizon deal, does that mean we'll still get a utility tax hike to reflect the new era of telecom? And of course the city will jump right on Verizon to discourage double taxation of utility usage.

And I've got a nice bridge for you, too.

Speaking of utilities, my driveway "lake" is still breeding mosquitos for which I pay both a storm drain tax and a mosquito abatement tax. Such a bargain.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

The objection to the tower on the basis of the extra very low power e-m radiation it will emit is far fetched, to say the least. I am betting we get more variation in this radiation just from driving around town than will be added by this new antenna, which is very sorely needed. The fact that it will be physically lower than the current structure means that it will barely be noticed. If ever there was a win-win, this is it; a stable source of funding for a valuable community resource (the field), and improvement in cell service, where there are clear and consistent Verizon dead-zones throughout PA. Let's get on with it, improve our field, improve our cell service, and lower the antennae! If someone says the money should come from somewhere else, let them provide or go find it, and see how they can also improve cell service in the area! Let's not let scientifically unfounded claims or fears about low power environmental e-m radiation undermine a good social deal.


Posted by Sue Allen, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I live through the block and can see this tower from my second floor window. We need this cell service! It's absurd that in Silicon Valley we have such poor cell service. This is no safety hazard, but quite the contrary. The closer you are with your phone to a tower, the less energy your phone has to emit to reach the tower. It's the power out of the handset that's the issue, not the power out of the antenna. We hear noise from baseball games at the Little League park, and are glad that kids and families are having a good time playing. People who live on busy Middlefield across from a power station and think this small tower on a ball park lightpole will impact their property values need to have a serious discussion with a couple of realtors.


Posted by muttiallen, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

I already typed a long comment, which didn't show up. Are comments blocked on this article?

We need this cell antenna! It's no safety hazard. It won't affect property values. I can see the lights from the tower out of my bedroom window, and hear the noise from the games. I think it's all great that we have a place where kids and families can play together all summer.


Posted by Mike Alexander, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I'm surprised that anyone continues to object to this antenna plan. The pole in question is 400 feet from the nearest house, and is almost entirely obscured by trees and other poles in the foreground and background. The power of radio emissions from the antenna, at the ground, would be less than 1% of what is permitted by federal law. The benefits to Little League, and to Verizon and its customers, far out-weigh the costs to neighbors, real or imagined.

Accurate illustrations of the proposal can be found here: Web Link


Posted by Mike Alexander, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I'm surprised that anyone continues to object to this antenna plan. The pole in question is 400 feet from the nearest house, and is almost entirely obscured by trees and other poles in the foreground and background. The power of radio emissions from the antenna, at the ground, would be less than 1% of what is permitted by federal law. The benefits to Little League, and to Verizon and its customers, far out-weigh the costs to neighbors, real or imagined.

Accurate illustrations of the proposal can be found here: Web Link


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm

If I was a neighbor of Palo Alto Little League, I would consider it to be an amazing resource! It is a private park, with youth activities, namely baseball, that prevents high density housing across the street from me. Some of these neighbors have had no problem increasing the density of their own properties across the street (you know, the ones with "No Cell Phone Towers" prominently displayed). These neighbors are alarmists about radiation, but that is just a cover story...they already have a cell tower at the corner fire station (the flag pole).

I think the Little League has done an admirable job, but they still have issues, including an aging facility (e.g. bathrooms), and a dark park at night...a little more light in the outfield area would prevent some very sketchy characters from camping there at night (only to disappear in the morning).

The neighbors should stop complaining, because they have a very good thing going across the street. The cell towers would improve their property values, not diminish it.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I am assuming that all those neighbors who don't want a cell tower don't have cell phones.

Right.

I am assuming that they don't want better service in their homes or want to be able to sell their homes at some stage in the future without having to admit to potential buyers that coverage in their area is poor.

Right.


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

We have two cell towers on one of our commercial properties. They did an analysis of radio activity and found it to be very insignificant. I show the documents to any prospective tenants that have any questions. Most have never even noticed there was a tower, let alone, two!
It's a nice income with no maintenance.
It would make so much sense for the ballpark to have Verizon as a tenant!!
$2000 is about the average per month for a cell site with a 3% annual increase.
Just think of what they could do to that park, and how top-of-the-line it could be!
Not all money is good money, but this is!!


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

The cell service in Monteverde, Costa Rica (high up in a rain forest) and all along the Yangtze River in China is better than the service in Palo Alto. Palo Alto is way behind.


Posted by OldAlum, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm

People, You misunderstand. Some of your neighbors live in constant fear of all kinds of things. They will not be swayed by logic or scientific data. They have told you who they are by their posts. Give them some sympathy but don't let them continue to stand in the way of reasonable and safe progress.


Posted by Johns, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

The very people who say they're afraid of cell phone radio signals coming from antennas are those who have no problem using their personal cell phones right next to their heads. If they're afraid of RF radiation, that would be the aspect to worry about. Or the very-low-frequency electromagnetic fields coming from overhead high-voltage power lines. Let's help the little league -- this is a no-brainer!


Posted by Hooray Little League, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

The Verizon/Palo Alto Little League proposal is a win-win. It's a GREAT way for Little League to generate predictable income for its community wide, non-profit program that benefits thousands of kids (since 1952). The Verizon cell tower will generate badly needed, consistent income to upgrade aging Little League facilities. Palo Altons win with better day-to-day and emergency cell phone services. Hooray Little League for being smart, resourceful, and responsive to the community's needs. Let's get on with it!


Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm

It's time for the tin foil hat wearing wackos to come out of their mylar lined subsidized housing to rant about the radio waves and aliens tracking them.


Posted by hypocrites, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm

If all the hypocrites who are opposed to cell phone antennas would just turn off your cell phones, then there would be plenty of bandwidth for everyone else and we wouldn't need new antennas. Problem solved.

Realistically, studies have shown that if cell phones pose any kind of health problem, the problem is caused by the phone that you are holding right next to your brain. The radio waves from these park antennas dissipate quickly enough that they are not an issue even to people who live next door. Same goes for TV and radio broadcast antennas; why does no one complain about those?


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

We live in Adobe Meadow and have excellent Verizon signals. Verizon has to demonstrate needs in coverage before siting this location for a macro cell tower. Please check their own website and type the Little League Ball Park address (3672 Middlefield Rd) to see how excellent our neighborhood coverage is, better than all carriers.


Posted by Midtown Resdident, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 9:46 pm

The question isn't whether or not there IS a cell tower, it's a matter of WHERE. There are prudent cell tower locations, and quite frankly, very poor choices in cell tower location. Placing a cell tower at this site is very concerning. In particular, I'm concerned for the kids nearby. It's been proven that kids have absorb much more radiation than adults, because of their thinner bones and rapidly metasticizing bodies.

Those who are advocating cell towers in this location are signing up the kids in the schools nearby to one of the largest long-term Palo Alto experiments for cell tower radiation - without the consent of the kids or their parents. The internationally adopted standard for a minimum safe distance between a school and a cell tower placement is 1500 feet:

Web Link

This standard is not arbitrary. It is based on studies that examine health effects on surrounding populations near cell towers.

Don't believe the advocates that claim cell tower radiation is safe - they simply can't prove it, and have no problems gambling your kids health. It wasn't too long ago, many advocates insisted that cigarettes and asbestos were safe. Where all those advocates now? Paying for your lung cancer treatment? I think not.


Posted by hypocrites, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:01 am

If you believe that cell phones are dangerous to your kids, then don't buy them cell phones. Radiation coming from a cell phone in your pocket or from a cell phone next to your head is far more dangerous than radiation coming from a cell phone tower.

Demand that teachers ban cell phones from classrooms as well, since 20 cell phones in a classroom are showering far more radiation on the people in that room than a tower across the street.


Posted by Jean, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2014 at 11:41 am

Hey, I have a novel idea...If you are concerned about not being able to call #911 in case of emergency...how about going back to a landline????? If the power went out and you couldn't make a call using your precious cell phone, the good ol' landline is your savior!!!!!! , especially if you use a "regular" phone and not a cordless....Cmon' Palo Alto!!!!


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

"Don't believe the advocates that claim cell tower radiation is safe - they simply can't prove it..."

How do you prove a negative? That blog you provided is a real joke...full of speculations, alarmism and true belief. There is no body of accepted scientific evidence that shows that cells towers emit dangerous levels of radiation...period.

It is time that Palo Alto ignores these paranoids, and simply build out the towers necessary. Start with the Little League towers. They will serve a need (coverage) and support a good cause (LL)!


Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I wonder if those that oppose the cell phone tower have some hidden agenda. It is hard to believe that the supposedly intelligent people in PA believe the nonsense about cell phone radiation. Do these people use wi-fi! cell phones and microwaves at home? A question for Jason-- did the ballpark have lights when first built? If not, then the park is already ruined.


Posted by K, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm

First, the power of RF signals decay by 1/distance squared. So the RF power that anyone receives from a tower is literally less than one millionth of the power that they receive from their own phone. So if cell phone signals are ever shown to cause health problems, the source of the danger will be the phones not the towers.

Second, cell phones and towers both use the minimum power needed to maintain link. So the phone against your head uses more power when you are far from a tower and less power you are close to a tower. If we are honestly concerned with the safety of cell phone signals, we would blanket the city with towers. When every cell phone is close to a tower, both the phone and tower use minimum power and reduce the RF radiation for everyone.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm

This seems to be a 'win' for Verizon customers, only. Att, T-Mobile, etc., are out of luck unless their local calls are routed through the proposed Verizon tower. Will the proposed new tower accommodate just Verizion, or any cell users?

I believe that the little league park is already close to two other cell towers, at least I believe they are cell towers, but I don't know who operates them. One is the fat flag pole at the PA Fire Station on the corner of Middlefield and East Meadow, and the other is the fake tree in Mitchell Park by the tennis courts, both just a few hundred feet from the ball park.

Some have complained about what happens in the case of an emergency and your cell call is dropped. This is a problem, but relying on cell coverage for emergency calls is foolish to begin with, anywhere. If you really want more reliable emergency phone service, you need plain old telephone service.


Posted by Ballpark Neighbor, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

As a neighbor and meeting participant, there are a number of misconceptions and errors in this article and the comment thread.

1) The only people at the meeting that discussed radiation safety were the consultant brought by NSA/Verizon and one of the Little League board members. All of the insults about radiation and "tin hats" that are directed at the neighbors are misplaced and irrelevant.

2) While some financial numbers are presented in the article, it is significantly less than the full picture. The article fails to mention the Little League's $250,000 cash reserve. It mentions they paid $45,000 for new sprinklers, but fails to mention that were it not for that expense they would have added another $40,000 to their cash reserves. All that cash and they don't do much at all in the way of fundraising. What in the world are they saving all that cash for while claiming they can't afford to fix the bathroom? By owning their own ~$8 million property, the league has significantly lower field rental costs (and no contention!), unlike other kids' sports in Palo Alto. Interestingly, the financial slide that they presented at the meeting has disappeared from the version they have posted on their website.

3) The woes of uncovered players and spectator seating and effects of rain are issues shared by all other outdoor sports, including girls softball and all soccer, lacrosse, football, etc... leagues.

4) Most importantly, the biggest concerns raised by neighbors are the overall impact of this project, not just the existence of a single 65' pole. Once a cell tower is in place at a site, federal law (Middle Class Tax Relief And Job Creation Act of 2012, section 6409) states, " State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station." The term, "substantially change" as applied to wireless communications towers is defined in FCC.Public-Notice-on-6409-4, and essentially would allow Verizon to add multiple 20 foot extensions in height, change the three foot wide antennae enclosure to a 20 foot wide appurtenance, and add three additional equipment cabinets with hydrogen fuel cell batteries. In addition, once Verizon has a cell tower at this site, other carriers can request additional towers and sue the city for discrimination if they are denied (Telecommunications Act of 1996). What the neighbors don't want, is an "antenna farm" with 100' plus cell towers. When specific questions were asked about the possibility of adding height or additional poles Charnell James did her best to respond in a way that seemed to answer the question, but in fact simply avoided it. When asked if other carriers could co-locate on the pole, she gave a lengthy dissertation on why none would WANT to - when pressed she finally acknowledged they COULD. When asked if the pole could be made taller without any further public review, she said the city ordinance is a max height of 65' - she didn't mention the ability for the city to grant variances to it's ordinances (such as they did to install the 60' light poles where the city ordinance dictated no taller than 12'), nor did she acknowledge the complex language in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that basically makes local ordinances irrelevant to communications facilities. And when asked if additional towers could be added more easily at this site once a single tower was in place, she again tried to avoid answering directly. The bottom line is that once a tower goes in, the ballpark will be a prime target for every other carrier, and will be quite profitable for Verizon to lease out additional space on the existing pole, while it makes the pole taller and maintains the "top spot." This property that is zoned Single Family Residential may very well become an ugly antenna farm, and no one will be able to stop it. As an example from Jeffersonville, Indiana, where Crown Castle requested to increase the height of an existing tower despite community objections, "Corporation Attorney Les Merkley said the board had no choice but to favorably recommend the variance to the finance committee because the federal government regulates wireless towers.

"In six years as the attorney representing BZA and the planning commission, I've only lost one suit and it was for a cell tower," Merkley said. "I became very familiar with these laws, and right or wrong, it's pretty much pre-empted by federal law."

Again, this property is zoned R1 Single Family Residential, and only operates as a ballpark under a variance granted by the city. If (more like when) this property is sold how can it be developed into Single Family Homes with cell tower(s) and access easements across it? More likely, a developer will request a zoning change and we will get more high-density housing in an SFR neighborhood - another Maybell.

5) The neighbors have consistently asked the City for a overall wireless plan, which the federal government does allow and would provide a sensible approach to providing wireless coverage without a random proliferation of cell towers based on carriers' profits instead of resident needs. And yes, all of the neighbors opposed to the ballpark cell tower use cell phones, are in high tech, and are intelligent and rational. In fact, most of us are Verizon customers who do not experience any issue with our service.

I'm sure I will now be attacked for my "paranoia" and for being a "hypocrite," but everything I have said is verifiable fact. It does require some effort educate yourselves and act intelligently, but I would hope at least the reasonable among us would be up to it.


Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

So, ballpark neighbor, sounds like you want to see the ballpark shutdown and housing built. And you are worried that the presence of the cell tower will prevent the building of housing at this site. I bet you, given the history of the site, it will never be turned into residential housing. When you talk about " the neighbors" who are you referring to? Is it all the neighbors? What constitutes a " neighbor"?
Looks my previous comment about hidden agendas may be correct


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

"What in the world are they saving all that cash for while claiming they can't afford to fix the bathroom? "

They could spend all that money in one year, to fix their parking lot.

The paranoid neighbors are out to lunch...they fail to understand what a wonderful resource they have across the street. Why do they whine so much?


Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm

^Cause they live on the Middlefield raceway. The cell tower is about the only thing they can control.

Build that tower I'm tired of the crappy cell phone service in this town


Posted by Ballpark Neighbor, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm

@Rupert: "So, ballpark neighbor, sounds like you want to see the ballpark shutdown and housing built. "

What a bizarre interpretation. Nowhere in my post do I say I want the ballpark to leave, nor do I have any problem with it's existence (it was there when we bought our home many, many years ago and we have never had any issue with it's existence). Sounds like Rupert just wants to stir up unnecessary controversy and, like many others, argue something that is not at issue. Please, stick to the facts and recognize that, yes Virginia, there is a future. I have no idea what your "hidden agenda" comment means - sounds like you believe there is some kind of conspiracy going on.

@John: "They could spend all that money in one year, to fix their parking lot."

I have trouble imagining they would need over a quarter million dollars to fix their parking lot, especially since it appears to be in very reasonable condition, but if the parking lot needs repair, they have over $270K sitting around that could be used to fix it. Another $24K per year is a drop in the bucket for this high-priced ballpark. You really can't explain a non-profit organization having $270K in cash and whining about not being able to fix a bathroom, or lamenting the high fees they are forced to charge their players.

"The paranoid neighbors are out to lunch..."
Thanks for the expected "paranoid" comment - no half-wit comment would be complete without it.

"they fail to understand what a wonderful resource they have across the street."
Unless you have a kid that makes one of the Little League teams and is allowed to play at this private park, it's not much of a resource. I agree it is a Palo Alto resource, but only if it remains dedicated to the intent with which which it was created.

"Why do they whine so much?"
Really? We put up with lights (added in 2009), loudspeakers, people parking in our driveways and blocking our driveways, increased traffic and people pulling out of the ballpark without heeding traffic laws, and we are "whining" because we do not want an "antennae farm" going in as well? Wow. Just. Wow.

Hutch: What an inane and uninformed comment. It would be great if posters to this forum could master basic English grammar before commenting on higher-level concepts like RF transmission and federal law.

I can't help but notice that none of the three comments address the more complex issues I discussed. Again, please educate yourselves so you can engage in an informed discussion. (Hint: name-calling is childish)


Posted by Kim, PALL Board Member, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm

@Ballpark Neighbor
In reading your comments, I did want to clarify a couple of things: you incorrectly stated that the financial slides we shared at the meeting are not available on the Little League website. All the slides we shared at the meeting, including the financial slides, are available on our Little League website through this link: Web Link. Please see slides 13 and 14.

In your above comment you also mentioned the League's $250,000 reserves. These funds are not reserves but our current available cash balance. As we mentioned in the meeting, right now, our cash balance is at its highest as we just finished registration of our more than 1000 registrants and have most of the donations from our team sponsors. This cash balance will diminish throughout the rest of the season (and our fiscal year, which ends 9/30/14) as we pay for our ongoing expenses: umpires, utility bills, replacement gear and fees to the city for use of nearly every park and school for practices and games. We also will have expenses over the summer related to the District All Stars competition and the costs associated with our Fall Ball program that starts before our fiscal year ends. As we mentioned in the meeting and as denoted in the financial slides available through our website, we project a net loss this year of $4,455.


Posted by Ballpark Neighbor, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm

@Kim: Thank you for the correction regarding the financial slides - I did find them much later in the deck on your site.

Also thank you for confirming that even with a $45K expenditure for new sprinklers (never heard why that was required) you ended with only a $4K deficit.

Are you saying you do not receive additional funds for All-Stars and Fall Ball? Most sports charge by the season, since not all kids participate in every season (or for the "elite" opportunities like All-Stars).

Can you elaborate on other ballpark funds, such as the "snack shack" proceeds and any fund-raising activities that the ballpark engages in to support this ~$8 million asset the Palo Alto Little League enjoys?

Also, I heard at the meeting that you pay a lot in utilities to the City of Palo Alto, but the breakdown was not available. Can you clarify how much of the utility expenditure is electricity to operate the field lights and after-dark batting cages?

Thank you you - I appreciate your input!


Posted by Need the cell tower, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:37 am

Ballpark neighbor--in your initial post you stated:
"Again, this property is zoned R1 Single Family Residential, and only operates as a ballpark under a variance granted by the city. If (more like when) this property is sold how can it be developed into Single Family Homes with cell tower(s) and access easements across it? More likely, a developer will request a zoning change and we will get more high-density housing in an SFR neighborhood - another Maybell."

So do not go accusing others of "stirring up unnecessary controversy", since you state that the site will be converted to housing and it will become another Maybell!!! So who is arguing something that is not an issue--I think it is you Virginia.
And there is a conspiracy going on--it is a conspiracy of narrow minded "neighbors" trying to prevent a much needed cell tower from being constructed. This, of course, a perfect example of Palo Alto dysfunction--where a very small and vocal minority can tie up the process for years.
And I would also like to know, who are all these "neighbors' you claim to speak for???




Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2014 at 8:28 am

I really appreciate the opportunity the Ball Park gives to youth in Palo Alto and their families. I find it hard that there are so many questions about its finances since it owns the property and has bills to pay. If you have had a child in Little League you will appreciate that the fees are only a small part of the moneys many families contribute to the program. Of course there are contributions that do not have a monetary value attached as so many families contribute volunteer hours of all descriptions as well as participate in the fundraising also. It is now used for Christmas trees in November and December so the scouts benefit from it also as well as the camps that take place during spring break.

I think that all in Palo Alto hope that the land will never be sold, at least not in the lifetime of our children and grandchildren. Speculating on what would replace this asset is not worth even thinking about as it is one of the few places for our youth.

The fact that the property is beside Mitchell Park and the new library and fits in beautifully with its surroundings.

I don't mind all the discussion about its finances, proof that they are open and transparent. But let's not even think about losing it because like the Winter Lodge, we don't want it to go and will do everything to help support keeping these venues for youth activities and family fun.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

"I have trouble imagining they would need over a quarter million dollars to fix their parking lot, especially since it appears to be in very reasonable condition"

A few years back the Little League spent $25K on a fractional repair of its parking lot, and that was a real deal given to LL by the contractor (I know this, because I know one of the guys who takes care of the park). Today, most of the rest of the parking lot is deteriorating (look for the alligator cracking patterns). I doubt that $250K could do the job properly. Probably about $25-35K per year to do patches, on a continuous basis.

Fence repair and additions are another significant cost. So is annual painting work. Don't forget equipment maintenance. Dump fees. Trimming of trees/bushes. Plumbing repairs and backflow fees. Vandalism repairs and paint-outs of graffiti.

Don't forget that the LL park does not tolerate homeless campers over there, unlike the public parks. Once the back part of the property is provided with night lights, the homeless will get out of there at night...they just unscrew or break the night lights at LL at this point. This is a huge benefit to the neighbors across the street.

The irrigation system was installed at the beginning (around 1952) and was never properly rigged. There was no head-to-head coverage, so in order to prevent brown areas in the lawn, it was necessary to overwater in one area in order to prevent die off of the lawn in another area. This was a big waste of time and money (LL pays for its water, at full rate to the City Utilities). The new system is head-to-head, and allows for much more efficient use of water, a very good thing during a drought.

You neighbors, who oppose the cell towers, at least need to get your facts straight. Then ask your realtors if your property is worth more or less, across from an open private park (as opposed to relatively dense housing), especially with very good cell phone coverage!

Thou doth protest too much, Neighbor!


Posted by Ballpark Neighbor, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm

At this point, in case anyone is still reading, I just want to say I do not see the ballpark as an enemy. The Ballpark has been there, serving kids, since I was born in this town, and I want nothing more than to see it continue to be a happy place for kids to play.

I do believe the ballpark board did not realize the ramifications of a macro cell tower contract, they only saw easy money. I do not believe they understand the long-term ramifications of this agreement with Verizon, including immutable access easements and a federal directive promoting the co-location and expansion of the height, width, and footprint of existing towers, as well as the addition of similar light pole antennas at this site. Per federal law, they will not be able to stop the growth and proliferation of cell towers on this R-1 Single Family Residential zoned property.

See:

- Middle Class Tax Relief And Job Creation Act of 2012, section 6409 states, "State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station." The term, "substantially change" as applied to wireless communications towers is defined in:

- FCC.Public-Notice-on-6409-4, and essentially would allow Verizon to add multiple 20 foot extensions in height, change the three foot wide antennae enclosure to a 20 foot wide appurtenance, and add three additional equipment cabinets with hydrogen fuel cell batteries or diesel fuel generators (or whatever else they deem necessary).

That's just a start to how the federal government ensures local municipalities cannot regulate or control the Wireless Communications Industry. It's all about big business.

This fight is not with Palo Alto Little League, it's with Verizon/NSA and huge communications companies that will run over local ordinances and neighborhood values in order to promote their bottom line.


Posted by John, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

Neighbor,

Very good to hear that you support PALL. It is good for you neighbors, as well as for the larger community. It also has many major expenses, and I am hopeful that you are now understanding this reality.

If your analysis is correct (re: future cell tower extensions), then I can, at least partially, understand your concerns. That is, if it becomes an unsightly cell tower mega-farm...I fundamentally, and completely, reject any safety issues.

"- FCC.Public-Notice-on-6409-4, and essentially would allow Verizon to add multiple 20 foot extensions in height, change the three foot wide antennae enclosure to a 20 foot wide appurtenance, and add three additional equipment cabinets with hydrogen fuel cell batteries or diesel fuel generators (or whatever else they deem necessary)."

I seriously doubt that PALL has the room (or the will) to build several new equipment cabinets on its site. I have heard, via the grapevine, that the neighbors, in opposition, opposed a diesel generator backup, so now we are talking about fuel cells. What is wrong with a diesel backup, given that it will only be used under emergency circumstances? Did the opposition neighbors shoot themselves in the foot on this demand?

At any rate, Neighbor, I think this may be coming to a conclusion, in favor of the cell towers, but, as you suggest, it is important to keep one's eye on the ball (pun intended). I don't think anybody wants to see something ugly across the street from you.



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