Several attempts over the past six years to bring service to what has come to be known as a cellular dead zone have all been thwarted by a mix of Crowley’s recessed, bowl-shaped topography and/or bureaucratic entanglements. In February, the Mono County Planning Commission opened, and then continued, a public hearing on a use-permit application from Incline Partners to install a pair of 60-foot tall mono pine cell towers on property located behind the Wash All laundromat in Crowley Lake.
A small rectangle of space in Crowley would, Incline indicated, provide ideal locations for towers, from the Fire Department property to the Verizon switching center and over to the laundromat site, owned by the Czeschins. Convinced of its viability, Incline Partners settled on the Czeschin property (as opposed to perceptions that the County was somehow part of the choice), and inked a deal with Tommy Czeschin. Incline reportedly has several customers, including AT&T, Verizon and other,) lined up for the six or so provider slots each tower can accommodate.
The project has considerable area support, but County staff said it has received enough opposition to warrant “putting the brakes on the process.”
According to Community Development Director Scott Burns the continuance provided staff an opportunity to “clarify how far [the County] can go.” Some of the objections go directly to the affects of electromagnetic fields generated by such towers. Federal policy says the County may not prevent the use-permit from being granted on any EMF-related grounds, reserving that right to the Federal Communications Commission.
Burns said he’d fielded a “number of concerned comments, well beyond what was anticipated.”
After further review of numerous public comments and the environmental document’s negative declaration, and follow up on legal research into health impacts, the Planning Commission is ready rejoin the hearing during a special evening meeting this coming Thursday, April 14, at 6 p.m. in the Crowley Lake Community Center.