Verizon proposes cell site in Rancho Santa Fe

RANCHO SANTA FE — Verizon is seeking to bring its 4G LTE wireless services to the area through a proposal to take over an existing cell tower site, which is currently being leased by Nextel.

The existing tower would be equipped with 12 Verizon antennas and 12 RRUs (remote radio units).

The site, a small building with antennas inside the structure, is located in the parking lot of the Fairbanks Village Plaza.

It wasn’t clear on the activity of the cell site, but Nextel’s lease on the site is expected to expire in April.

The project is proposing the construction of a new emergency generator building, a 16-foot by 10 foot 8 inch by 11 foot 10 inch structure next to the existing building.

The proposed antennas and building were approved 8-0 by the San Dieguito Planning Group last year during their Dec. 5 meeting.

In keeping the site hidden from view, the planning group made comments during the meeting that the new building must match existing architecture, color and finish.

They stated that that the new structure should have no exterior lighting unless on a one-hour timer and that a mid-wall ledge trim should be continued from an existing structure to the proposed site of the generator building.

Don Willis, a member of the planning group said it was approved in support of the development of the phone system in the area. “Our job is to help integrate it in, so it’s as least offensive as possible,” he added.

“This one was approved because the generator is necessary for emergency, which can happen and does; it’s not offensive because it’s run intermittently to make sure it’s lubricated for about a half-hour and that’s it,” Willis said.

He added that the noise level of running the generator has been surveyed by engineers to make sure that it’s not audible to the people and animals in the surrounding area.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center is next door to the property.

Nextel merged with wireless communication company Sprint in 2005, but in 2013 the company shut down its Sprint/Nextel networks, which carried an iDEN or 2G signal in favor of the 4G LTE upgrades.

The proposal will next have to be heard by the county before proceeding.

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