Residents of the greater Tehachapi area are voicing concerns over seven AT&T cell towers proposed for placement near homes and agricultural areas in Brite Valley, Cummings Valley, Stallion Springs and Bear Valley.
Two proposed examples of tower locations are on the Kern County Planning Commission's May 23 agenda.
“At this time we are recommending this project be referred back to staff, so that it can be evaluated,” said Craig M. Murphy, assistant director of the Kern County Planning & Natural Resources Department.
Two conditional use permits for one 65-foot tall and one 80-foot tall monotone communication tower are on the May 23 agenda.
These towers are located at 17621 Ascot Court in Stallion Springs and at 22757 Creekside Court in Brite Valley.
AT&T is using consultants to submit all of the applications one at a time to the county planning department, versus all at once, according to documents from the Planning Commission agenda.
Planning department staff are recommending that the Commission send the two conditional use permit requests on the May 23 agenda back to them for more review.
The cell towers represent an “unavoidable impact to aesthetics, wildfire hazards and growth inducement under the California Environmental Quality Act," said the documents. A supplemental environmental impact report and Community Plan EIR will be required to continue to process the request for AT&T towers, the documents said.
“I’m glad that the Kern County Planning Department will look at environmental issues,” said Janice Hagen, a resident of Bear Valley Springs.
Murphy said AT&T mailed notices about the project to nearby residents.
Kathy Carey, owner of BVS Properties, said on behalf of the Say No to BVS Cell Towers that more than 760 signatures against the proposed cell towers in Bear Valley have been penned.
“We feel both the Bear Valley Springs Association board and Environmental Control Committee, by allowing these applications, are not acting in the interest of the property owners," Carey said.
Carey said in a letter to Tehachapi News that the group would fight the issue at the county level.
Concerns about the cell towers lowering property values, possible health hazards, the natural beauty of the valley being damaged and endangerment to various animals were voiced in the letter.
The Bear Valley Springs Association will host a meeting at 6 p.m. May 21 at the Oak Tree Country Club at 29500 N. Lower Valley Road to discuss the issue, according to the Facebook page for BVS concerned citizens on proposed AT&T cell towers.
The county Planning Commission meeting is at 7 p.m. May 23 at 1115 Truxtun Ave. in Bakersfield.