Carroll Park residents have lost the battle to stop a 5G wireless installation in the middle of the historic district, but the president of the association there says the war isn't over yet.
At issue is a 5G Wireless Telecommunication Facility (WTF) at 358 Carroll Park East. The installation is part of a citywide contract between the city and Verizon Wireless for upgraded wireless internet connectivity.
In this case, the small cell transmitter is on a 26-foot tall light pole in the public right-of-way, replacing a 25-foot, 6-inch light pole. Three antennas are on the top five feet of the pole.
A group of residents have protested the 5G WTF, with the Carroll Park Association and its president Tom Poyer as the official appellants to the permit issued by the city's Public Works Department. While the pole in question is on a public right-of-way, it is between two of the historic homes in the district.
Residents have said they fear the installation will be an eyesore in the Historic Landmark District, and argued it could be relocated outside of the small neighborhood. The specific basis for the appeal was that neither Verizon nor the city went to the Cultural Heritage Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness — a requirement for homeowners to make any changes to their property.
The appeal hearing took place Jan. 13 before Administrative Hearing Officer Jonathan Navarro. He released his findings on Feb. 8, denying the appeal.
According to his report, Navarro based his decision on the definition of the historic district in the city ordinance creating it, which talks specifically about the homes and other structures in the area. Light poles are not addressed, and the current light pole is not "from the period of significance — 1898 to 1923 — for the Carroll Park neighborhood."
In a release Poyer issued after the decision was announced, he continues to argue that the historic designation includes all parts of the district.
“People are attracted to neighborhoods that are identified and protected as historic districts because there is the promise that there will be an opportunity to have a say in the process of how the historic district will maintain its integrity and how that specialness will be retained for future generations,” Poyer says in the release.
In a separate email, Poyer said no decision had been made whether to pursue other legal options to stop the installation.
Jennifer Carey, community relations officer at the city's Public Works Department, said Verizon has not scheduled a date for the installation. She also pointed out that state and federal regulations govern a large part of communications-related installations.
"Long Beach was able to create certain design standards, which were approved by the City Council, to address aesthetic concerns," Carey wrote in an email, "but city regulation of these installations is prohibited by State and Federal law."