Supes Say No To Clear Talk Cell Tower

Residents protest against the proposed Clear Talk cell phone tower during a public hearing Tuesday morning.

EL CENTRO – The Imperial County Board of Supervisors denied an appeal submitted by Clear Talk Telecommunications to install a 160-foot tall antenna cellphone tower subsequent to the public hearing  Tuesday at the regular board meeting.

Clear Talk proposed to install, operate, and maintain an unmanned wireless communication tower facility consisting of a 160-foot-tall cell tower with equipment structures and related improvements to provide facilities for multiple carriers. The project site would consist of a 60’ x 60’ leased area approximately 3,600 square feet located at 294 W. Harold Street in El Centro, approximately ½ mile south of I-8 at the northeast corner of Clark and Horne Road.

On December 17, the Imperial County Planning and Developing Services Department held a special hearing and approved the project, however after receiving a letter from Jack Stanton, a resident near the proposed tower location, on December 23, the Planning Department requested the Board of Supervisors hold a second hearing and make the decision based on the facts and arguments presented at that time.

In his letter, Mr. Stanton said the proposed project would be centered in a residential area and would degrade the existing visual character of the neighborhood as well as the quality of the site and of the life for residents in addition to diminishing the value of the homes and properties.

Several residents who live near the proposed project attended Tuesday’s meeting and stressed their concerns to the supervisors to deny the appeal.

“Children are at great risk if this tower is permitted, including the elderly and pregnant women,” said Ben Bustamante, resident. “I ask that you please consider the possible dangers.”

Resident Irene Preciado who suffers from a brain tumor said this tower makes her very nervous due to her condition.

“Maybe they need to look for another location, one that is away from residential areas,” said Preciado.

Others questioned the board asking if they wanted an antenna in either their neighborhood.

Robert Martinez who lives caddy corner to the proposed tower location said that he would sell his home and move from the area if the tower was approved.

“Not only is this an environmental concern, we are also putting families at risk,” said Martinez.

After hearing the numerous concerns and suggestions from the residents, the Board voted unanimously to deny the appeal and suggested Clear Talk look for an alternate location away from the residential areas.

“This is not a good location taking in consideration that the tower serves with amber alerts, emergencies and communication,” said Ryan Kelley, D-4 supervisor.

Prior to the vote, D-3 supervisor Michael Kelley reminded the board that they (supervisors) were elected by the people to represent the community and make decisions in the community’s best interest.

“Please remember we have to do what is best for the community. It is our responsibility,” said Michael Kelley.