Telecom Towers in the Hills

A telecom company recently asked the city for permission to build three towers on Skyline Boulevard to fill in cellular “dead zones” in the Fruitvale and San Antonio neighborhoods.

The View from Skyline Before the Age of Cell Phones

Ranging in height from 36 feet to 41 feet, it’s not likely that the towers will be built as planned. Aubrey Rose, who works for the city’s planning and zoning department, said that the site for one of the proposed towers is actually outside Oakland’s borders on unincorporated county land. Rose said that the other two towers can’t be considered for a public right of way in their current design. The second and third rules for telecom towers in the city’s planning rule book couldn’t be more clear: “Monopoles should not be sited to create visual clutter or negatively affect specific views,” and “Monopoles shall be screened from the public view wherever possible.” Rose said that the towers would have to be moved deeper into the woods, or significantly more concealed (You’ve seen the telecom towers disguised as trees) to pass muster. While the Oakland Hills aren’t the home to many towers, said Rose, the number of applications is growing.

Here are the locations for the towers:

  1. 41 feet:  Skyline Boulevard, east side of street (north of Roberts Park entrance).
  2. 36 feet:  Skyline Boulevard, south side of street (southeast of Sequoyah Bayview trailhead beyond turn-out). Withdrawn by applicant.
  3. 36 feet:  Skyline Boulevard, north side of street (adjacent to Chabot Space & Science Center street entrance).

The towers will be discussed at a meeting of the Planning Commission scheduled for August 4.