Dedicated to protecting the integrity of Ridgewood Neighborhood Park
Great News! Verizon Lets the Permit Lapse
As of October 22, 2018, the Verizon permit to install a wireless cellular tower and equipment building in Ridgewood Park has expired! They will now need to start the entire approval and permitting process over again if they want to implement this installation. Congratulations to everyone who helped raise the noise level on this inappropriate construction site enough to apparently cause Verizon to decide it wasn’t worth it.
The remainder of this site remains as-is for anyone who is unfamiliar with the proposed project and the history of attempts to stop it.
Let the People Vote!
After three years of legal battles our final appeal has been denied. The City of San Diego, with the blessings of the San Diego City Council and Planning Commission, is making a practice of leasing dedicated park land in small neighborhood parks to private cellular carriers for the placement of large cell towers and equipment buildings. These facilities are contrary to park purpose and are being installed to service the exclusive need of the wireless company’s customers. Per the city’s charter (see below) changes to public park use or purpose requires approval by a vote of the people. There has been no vote to approve changes of this magnitude to Ridgewood Park and other local parks.
Resident Protests Ignored - Ridgewood Park to Have Verizon Cellular Installation
In spite of resident protests at every level of the approval process and legal challenges, the city has approved the installation of a cellular antenna tower and a 20’ x 9’ block equipment building in a prime Ridgewood Park picnic area. This installation is contrary to all intended park purposes and therefore violates the City Charter. Over 350 residents have signed the petition to stop this installation. (scroll to the bottom of this page to see the actual locations)
City Charter Ignored - A Non-park Purpose Is Being Allowed Without a Vote of the People
Actual charter verbiage: “San Diego City Charter section 55 (Charter 55) provides that real property formally dedicated in perpetuity for park, recreation or cemetery purposes shall not be used for any but park, recreation or cemetery purposes without such changed use or purpose having been first authorized or later ratified by a vote of two-thirds of the qualified electors of the City [of San Diego] voting at an election for such a purpose.”
The City, without a vote of the people, ignoring resident protests and proof to the contrary, has deemed that a cellular tower and block building in prime park picnic space will not alter Ridgewood Park, its use, or purpose. The city will be leasing the space required to Verizon Wireless, collecting the lease fees as part of its general fund. The City has been making a practice of this in park after park without voter approval.
Superior Court Allows the City to Violate Its Own Charter
September 30, 2016 - Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes rules that the City can continue to lease portions of public parklands to wireless companies to install cellular antennas and facilities without a vote of the people.
March 15, 2018 - Appellate Justice Judith L. Haller, upheld the Superior Court Decision stating “We conclude that the Project does not constitute a changed use or purpose that required voter approval.” See the pictures of the proposed installation to see if you agree.
These rulings deny San Diegans their legal right to vote on the matter as this is not within the park’s original park purpose by altering its use and aesthetic appeal.
Subsequent appeals and petitions for appeal have all been denied.
Your Voice Does Matter
Many battles such as this have been won by local residents protesting unwanted construction in our neighborhoods and parks. We need every signature, every letter, and every phone call. We need to bring this practice to a vote in order to stop it. Please help now.
Sign the Petition to help stop this installation before it is built.
Ridgewood Park Installation Details
The cellular tower, an array of 12 antennas and 12 Remote Radio Units “disguised” as a fake eucalyptus tree, will be located in prime park picnic space, 300’ from the nearest homes on Via Cabazon.
Many organizations, both public and private, cities, and school districts have banned cellular installations this close to people for health reasons. Links: LA Schools Prohibit Cell Towers - Association of Firefighters Prohibit Towers on Firehouses - FCC Does Not Monitor Radiation Output Levels
This site is not necessary:
· There are other viable sites NOT IN THE PARK with comparable coverage. Further, Verizon plans 2 more installations within a mile of this site.
· Two other cellular companies provide excellent coverage to the target area WITHOUT AN ANTENNA IN THE PARK.
Inappropriate on Every Level:
The pictures below (you may need to scroll down) show exactly where the antenna and building will be positioned. They will be far more visibly intrusive than pictures can convey.
Of particular note:
· Ridgewood Park has NO buildings of any kind, including bathrooms, by design. The “enclosure”, destroying a key view, will be the first building and visibly obscene.
· The antenna array is positioned among park benches, tables, and an exercise station (rendering usable park space no longer usable) and will be HIGHLY VISIBLE as people enter our neighborhood from Paseo Montril.
· This installation will likely impact local home values as this once pristine and one-of-a-kind park is permanently marred by the addition of a wireless antenna and its equipment enclosure. Cell Towers and Nearby Property Values Survey
(scroll down to see simulations of the proposed installation)
From Verizon’s Site Plan
The 20’ x 9’ block and mortar building (referred to as an “equipment enclosure”) will be located at the southern end of the park, 15 feet from the sidewalk and playing field behind the 2 trees pictured, directly in the middle of the Preserve view. The trees are dormant 4-5 months of the year. (this building is taken from the Verizon wireless installation in Mira Mesa’s Camino Ruiz Neighborhood Park) More pictures.
The cell tower will be “disguised” in a faux (fake) eucalyptus tree located in the southwest corner of the park 10 feet from the sidewalk. (this is an actual Verizon antenna-tree from the Black Mountain Middle School site)
It will be visible from the southern end of the park and from Paseo Montril as traffic enters the neighborhood. It will not blend in or feel natural. The leg stretch beam and at least one table will be moved for safety reasons. We are not supposed to use this area anymore. More pictures.