The two SMUSD cell towers were built without any building permits, inspections or tests.

The two SMUSD cell towers were built without any building permits, inspections or tests.
Cell tower fires cannot be fought with water or foam and are left to burn out on its own. Century windstorms have exceeded the wind ratings of the cell towers and the seismic rating of the cell towers are unknown. In 2000 Los Angeles Unified School District banned cell towers on and near school campuses.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Your help is needed to support the removal and relocation of the 80 foot Verizon cell tower in the SMUSD Maintenance yard

The City Council will hold a meeting on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 8 am to determine the fate of the Verizon cell tower in the SMUSD Maintenance yard (Located between Huntington Middle School and Valentine Elementary).

Verizon will be presenting an alternative sites analysis at this meeting and it is important that you attend the meeting and write a letter to the City Council to express your support of the removal and relocation of the Verizon cell tower. 

There is growing opposition to the top two alternate sites:  Old Mill Road Median and the parking lot near Thurner House in Lacy Park.  If there are only a few people that support the removal and relocation of the Verizon cell tower then there is a strong chance it will be forced to remain in the SMUSD Maintenance yard.


LACKS 2 GOVERNMENT APPROVALS:  Verizon built the 80-foot tall cell tower at HMS and Valentine Elementary without any building permits, inspections, tests or building plans on record with the City of San Marino or the Division of State Architects.  DSA Certification is required for all K-12 schools.  Both government permits should have been obtained before the cell tower was built in 2006.

VERIZON COULD NOT FIND ANY OF ITS INSPECTION DOCUMENTS:  Since these documents were missing Verizon was required by the City to rebuild the cell tower.  Was this cell tower ever inspected? 

VERIZON’S LEASE CONTRACT AND LACK OF COMPLIANCE:  Verizon signed a lease contract with SMUSD, saying they would obtain all Federal, State or Local permits and certificates as well as soil boring tests, but chose to do nothing.

STEALTH BUILD:  The tower was unlawfully and surreptitiously built during the winter break in 2006.

NO PUBLIC INPUT OR PARTICIPATION:  By not applying for a CUP, Verizon avoided notifying the residents of homes within 300 feet of the SMUSD property line.  They blocked public participation and input into the siting of the cell tower. 

VISUAL BLIGHT AND DECREASED PROPERTY VALUE:  Initially the cell tower monopole was a faux mono-palm with only one antenna array.  In less than a year it became a faux mono-pine that could accommodate 4 antenna arrays.  This change required a Modification of Conditional Use Permit and again violated the City building code.  Verizon has a history at this site of evading code compliance.


VERITICAL REAL ESTATE AT SMUSD:  Verizon has sub-leased space on this tower to other wireless companies in the past.  Any additional antennae, satellite dishes and equipment loaded onto tall cell towers, can pose serious safety risks due to: fire, metal fatigue from excessive load, stress from Century winds and falling faux branches.

CENTURY WINDS:  In 2011 there were winds that reached over a 100 mph.  The wind rating for this cell tower is only 75 mph.  Current International Building Codes now have a wind rating for cell towers in Los Angeles County at 85 mph.

PROXIMITY TO EARTHQUAKE ZONE:  Verizon built the tower within ¼ mile of the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Zone.

FALL ZONE NOT SAFE FOR OUR KIDS –NOT LEAST INTRUSIVE SITE:  The tower’s fall zone has student classrooms, walkways, and playgrounds in its path.  With 2 large combined school campuses to choose a cell site location, why did Verizon have to squeeze in the cell tower so close to classrooms and children?

THE EVACUATION PLANS FOR BOTH SCHOOLS ARE UNDER THE FALL ZONE OF THE 80' CELL TOWER: Valentine Elementary has 6 classrooms evacuating under the cell tower. HMS has 11 classrooms and a Cafeteria full of children evacuating under the cell tower.

THE NEAREST CLASSROOM IS ONLY 18 FEET AWAY FROM THE BASE OF THE CELL TOWER:  Verizon did not even bother adding a chain link fence.  They merely used the back wall of the classroom to complete the fence enclosure.

NO WAY TO FIGHT A FIRE:  Electrical fires on cell towers are not uncommon.  Tower fires cannot be extinguished with water or foam and are left to burn out on their own.


CONCLUSION: Verizon has a legal right to fill its coverage gap and needs to find a site that is the least intrusive means of filling that gap.  The cell tower is a safety hazard because of its close proximity to students and classrooms.  The cell tower should not be allowed to remain in the SMUSD Maintenance yard.


This is a critical point in this fight and I ask that you write to the City to the SUPPORT REMOVAL AND RELOCATION OF THE VERIZON CELL TOWER.  It is also very important that we have a large group attend this meeting.  Because of this tower, our school district and community cannot afford to continue losing students and to decrease the overall value of our homes, schools and the quality of life in our city.  Please forward this email to other parents and friends so that large numbers can show up in force at the July 25 City Council meeting.

You can email your public comment letter to the following officials: 

Eugene Sun ,
Richard Sun ,
Allan Yung ,
Richard J. Ward ,

Dennis Kneier ,
John Schaefer ,
Dave Saldana


Concerned Parents of SMUSD

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