During Thursday’s Rancho Mirage City Council meeting a proposed cell phone tower was voted down after hours of public comment and debate.
The tower was supposed to be constructed on the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa property for AT&T.
Area residents have complained for years about the poor cell phone service in the area and the Tom Scaramellino the general manager of the resort says that’s why they’ve received overwhelming support from their HOAs.
He says the poor cell phone service has cost them business over the years, “We’ve been fighting this for a decade and that’s an unfortunate situation sometimes it forces us to lose the group or the conference or the meeting as a result of that.”
He says the tower is going to look like a clock tower and the company has gone to great lengths to meet the standards of the city and their resort matching the architecture, “It’s going to look like it’s always been there nobody’s even going to know it’s a cell tower.”
But more importantly he says having good connectivity is vital on a property with 200 acres of golf course, “There could very likely be a day where we could go out there the next morning and find someone who was in trouble the night before.”
Zack Marks who lives on the property says he’s against the tower going up and that’s went to Thursday’s city council meeting to voice his concerns, “We’re here to make sure we do everything we can to make sure it does not happen,” adding he’s worried about the value of his home, “property values in the area will plummet.”
But Marks says he mostly worries about the health effects, “It emits radiation, I don’t want my family living 150 feet from a 60 foot cell phone tower in my backyard.”
Scaramellino says he and many of his employees spend countless hours there and they would never jeopardize anyone’s health, “We would not move down this path if we thought there was significant health hazards for anybody including our associates particularly.”
Still marks says if it goes up he will go, “Move back to Indian Wells.”
UPDATE: Rancho Mirage City Manager Isaiah Hagerman sent an email on Friday morning to clarify the city’s stance saying it was not voted down instead it was approved pending the company makes the following changes:
Move that the Rancho Mirage City Council approve Conditional Use Permit Case No. CUP18001 based upon the Content, Findings and Conditions in the staff report and the additional Condition that said Cell Tower shall be positioned on Westin Mission Hills property at least 400-feet distant from the nearest Mission Hills Country Club house.
In the event that (a) AT&T completes the subject tower and it is available for full public use within 1-year from today’s approval, and (b) AT&T has secured a lease from a secondary provider to co-locate on the subject facility – or submits evidence showing a good faith effort to attract a prominent secondary provider (such as Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, et al), the City of Rancho Mirage will reimburse AT&T or its designee up to $20,000 for design and directly related costs and expenses incurred in connection with relocating from the initial site selection adjacent to Mission Hill’s Sunningdale wall. Any costs or expenses claimed must be supported with appropriate documentary invoices and other data supporting the claimed costs and/or expenses.
If, within one year from today, the subject tower is not fully constructed and operating, the tower approval granted today will be deemed null and void.