No quorum for two antenna renewals in DPR


With several board members missing, there was no quorum at the Aug. 9 meeting of the Development Permit Review committee (DPR), so the two items presented for approval were tabled for a vote at the next meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 16.

The first project, an application to renew the permit of an AT&T wireless communication facility, was presented by project manager Caitlyn Kes. “We call this a renewal, because we are already there, we already had our permit, but technically is a new application to an existing wireless facility,” she said.

The antenna located on 2122 Via Casa Alta, property of KGTV, now holds eight AT&T antennas, and through the permit renewal the company intends to get approval for an equipment change. Kes said, “The landlord also told us that the tower is a little bit stressed and he wanted to take some stuff off the site, so we have been working with him to see what we really need on the site, to keep it operational and take off everything else that we don’t need.”

If the project is approved, two of the existent eight antennas will remain, and six will be taken down. Five new devices will be put in place, so the number of antennas that AT&T will own in the tower will be down to seven, with space for one future extra antenna and four unoccupied positions.

The change will upgrade AT&T’s network in the area, amplifying the coverage in Soledad Mountain and leaving the door open for new technologies to come. “The goal is to go to 5G,” Kes said, implying that the advance is still far away in the future.

The phone company employee indicated that the total power output of the antenna would remain stable, and there are no controversial buildings such as schools or hospitals in the area. “It’s mostly residences, and even the residencies are pretty far away,” Kes said.

The second project consisted of another renewal application for an existing wireless communication facility, this time on 1570 Alta La Jolla Drive. The permit for the antenna expires next month, and without it, explained project manager Jamo Stephenson, “That whole community would not be able to talk to anyone.”

Stephenson highlighted that the site would not experience any changes, and that the 10-year long permit doesn’t allow any changes in the facility. “Even if we switched out another thing that’s about the same size and frequency, so we would need a Substantial Conformance Review (from the City of San Diego),” said Kes.

DPR members raised questions about the building where the antennas are on. Chair Paul Benton explained that a previous project reviewed by the committee discovered an inconsistency in the height measurement of the building; while the parameter was quantified from its south side, where the entrance is, the north side of the construction is “substantially higher.”

Benton requested for the applicant to find out the height of the north side, since he suspects the total elevation closes up on the 34 feet maximum height on buildings in La Jolla. “I would love to get that on the record, and that would straighten up the relationship between us and both you and (other companies in the antenna) in the future,” he said. However, he noted that for the current project no addition was projected, so the building’s height would not be a problem.

The 1570 Alta La Jolla Drive project was also slated for the Tuesday, Aug. 16 meeting. Both projects may have been voted in the session, which happened after press time. Read all the details on our next edition.

Furthermore, these projects will have to pass a final vote at La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA), 6 p.m. Thursday, September 1 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

-DPR meets next 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 12 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.