A massive, 100-foot tall Verizon cell tower with no camouflaging could be built in what will one day be a Turlock residential neighborhood.
A permit to build the tower currently sits before the Stanislaus County Planning Department, but the Turlock Planning Department and Commission have voiced their opposition to the development.
“It would not be something the city would support,” said Turlock Senior Planner Rose Stillo.
The cell tower would be built at 3332 E. Hawkeye Ave, just outside of Turlock city limits, between Daubenberger and Verduga roads. The land is currently home to a walnut orchard.
But Turlock’s General Plan calls for the land to become a residential neighborhood as the city grows, likely in the next 10 years.
Such tall cell towers are not generally not allowed in the City of Turlock. New cell towers are generally capped at 50 feet in height, half of the Verizon tower’s proposed height, and must be camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings.
"It would be unacceptable, regardless of when you do it, at least in terms of how we've defined it,” said Turlock Planning Commissioner Michael Brem.
The cell tower would be accompanied by a 204-square-foot structure, housing telecommunications equipment and a standby generator with diesel fuel tank. It would be surrounded by 6-foot tall chain link fence.
The site is named “Turlock HS,” an indication that Verizon hopes to serve nearby Turlock High School with the tower. Verizon considered four other colocation options near THS, but none met Verizon’s coverage objectives.
“The proposed location is the least visually obtrusive, does not limit agricultural uses, and allows for Verizon to meet its coverage objectives,” Verizon writes in its project application.
As the tower is located within the City of Turlock’s sphere of influence, though outside of city limits, Stanislaus County should uphold Turlock’s recommendation to deny the cell tower.