Resident asks why notification missing over utility work in La Jolla


City says notice not required for wireless communications job in public right-of-way

A resident at the junction of Westknoll Drive and Calle Vaquero is concerned the city did not notify him and his neighbors about two-pronged street work that includes trenching a two-block section of Calle Vaquero and using jackhammers to install a utility box at the foot of his driveway.

Contractors are installing fiber optic cable for Verizon’s bundled Internet, phone and cable TV service, as well as cell antennas on select light poles for its cell service. The work should be completed by the end of April, said Nick Patrick, a supervisor with the Fishel Company, the contractor completing the first phase of the work.

Resident David Haney, who has Internet service with Time Warner, said neither he nor his neighbors knew about the work until workers showed up at the foot of his driveway last week with jackhammers.

“It seems odd to me that none of us that live in this peaceful neighborhood were notified of this project or work,” Haney said in an e-mail to the City of San Diego.

“I am not in favor of this transmitter so close to my house. Is it standard operating procedure that you do not inform homeowners of such major quality of life projects?”

responding to an inquiry about the work, Lynda Pfeifer, a spokesperson for the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department, said the Crown Castle GT Company (which provides mobile phone coverage for Verizon, AT&T, and other wireless communications providers) has an agreement with the city’s Real Estate Assets Department to install antennas on street lights throughout the city, similar to one that will be installed at the foot of Haney’s driveway. The antennas are less than 24 inches tall and exempt from wireless communication facility permit regulations of the Land Development Code (section 141.0420), Pfeifer said.

“A typical installation involves removing an existing concrete light standard and replacing it with a steel light standard, textured to resemble concrete,” Pfeifer responded, via e-mail.

“The antenna is then mounted to the top of the pole with an equipment cabinet mounted to the side of the pole.”

A process 1 permit was issued for the work, which does not require noticing.

“These installations are submitted for a right-of-way permit and no public hearing or notice is sent out,” Pfeifer said.

Although in a letter to the offices of the mayor and city council last week, Haney said he felt it “extremely inappropriate for the city to go on a binge of installing mini cell phone towers with no option for homeowner/public comment,” Mike Sherlock, a resident who lives two doors down on Westknoll Drive told La Jolla Light he is not bothered by the work nor the fact that he was not notified of it in advance.

“It’s progress,” Sherlock said. “You know, just because you live in La Jolla doesn’t mean they can’t fix the road or upgrade the lines.”