Commission approves wireless sites at RHS field, Highland Trails Drive
By Joe Naiman
San Diego County Planning Commission approved two major use permit applications for wireless communications facilities in Ramona during a recent meeting. Approval of the wireless sites at Ramona High School’s football field and off Highland Trails Drive were both by 6-0 votes with Commissioner John Riess absent.
The football field permit authorizes the replacement of the existing 79-foot light standard with a new 79-foot light standard, which will contain 12 antennas at 71 feet and a 4-foot microwave dish. The Highland Trails Drive site allows Verizon to install a false pine tree 45 feet tall with 12 panel antennas mounted on it.
The permit for the football field site also authorizes a prefabricated equipment enclosure that will be painted to match the existing ticket booth and a 38-kilowatt emergency backup generator next to the equipment enclosure and surrounded by a concrete masonry unit wall 8 feet high that will be painted to match the ticket booth. The antennas will be within a weatherproof enclosure measuring 46 inches in diameter.
Although a public school is normally exempt from county land use jurisdiction, a commercial use at the school requires county approval. The 37.6-acre parcel at the intersection of Hanson Lane and San Vicente Road has rural residential zoning, so a major use permit is required for a wireless telecommunications facility, and a waiver to the maximum 35-foot structure height limit was also required.
The Highland Trails Drive permit allows for supporting equipment including three equipment cabinets, a telecommunications cabinet, a transformer and battery enclosure, and a 20-kilowatt emergency backup generator with a 52-gallon diesel tank.
The equipment will be contained in a concrete block enclosure 8 feet high with a chain link lid, and global positioning system antennas will be attached to each of the three equipment cabinets.
The 20.09-acre parcel in the 16200 block of Highland Trails Drive has a single-family residence, an avocado grove and a detached workshop/storage building. The wireless infrastructure will total just over 500 square feet and be at the edge of the avocado grove.
The property has A72 general agricultural zoning, which makes it a non-preferred zone, but no preferred zones are available that could provide equivalent wireless communications service, according to a county report. Verizon and its representatives considered locating the wireless equipment at water tank sites to the northwest or southwest of the site, but the northwest water tank would not allow for full coverage to the south on Highland Valley Road and the southwest water tank is too far west to cover Highland Valley Road.
Verizon provided a letter indicating its willingness to allow other carriers to co-locate on its site if that is technically and economically feasible. The permit also authorizes an exemption from the 35-foot structure height limit to allow for the 45 foot high false tree.
Construction will also include a 570 foot long trench, which will be used to extend electrical service to the equipment.
- County approves permit for new cell tower project
- County OKs cell site off Sutherland Drive
- Planning Commission approves condo project
- County postpones Highland Valley Ranch appeals until January
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