The City of Long Beach’s Decision in favor of the AT&T Cell Tower Installation 25’ from Moira Hahn and Mark Hotchkiss’ house Violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- The City failed to establish that this installation fits the requirements of a categorical exemption within the intent of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- The City failed to consider cumulative impacts of the one thousand pending cell tower installations, as CEQA law section 15300.2 requires cumulative impacts to be taken into consideration.
- The City failed to consider the particular circumstances of a cell tower at this location.
The City has falsely asserted that a Cell Tower is the same thing as a Streetlight, thereby avoiding an Environmental Review as required by CEQA.
CEQA allows for a categorical exemption when infrastructure is replaced with like infrastructure. To quote from the city (CE-19-013 ) as it quotes from the state’s CEQA guidelines:
exemptions “consist of replacement or reconstruction of existing structures and facilities where the new structure will be located on the same site as the structure replaced and will have substantially the same purpose and capacity as the structure replaced … “
Replacing a streetlight with a cell tower no longer has the same purpose and capacity as had the original streetlight, and it certainly creates new environmental impacts. We contend that that exemption would not apply to the project, as the purpose of the cell tower is substantially different from the existing street light. CEQA therefore requires an environmental review be performed for any installation of a new cell tower.
The City Failed to Address the Project’s Cumulative Impacts
The City failed to consider cumulative impacts when it issued a Notice of Exemption (“NOE”) approving wide scale, unlimited installation of 5G cell towers, numbering (according to the City, at Hahn’s hearing) at least a thousand towers through out the entire City. There will be cumulative impacts through all of the cabling and excavation required for the new cell towers, as well as through the increase in residents’ close range exposure to electromagnetic radiation., which has been scientifically proven to be potentially carcinogenic and to cause many other negative impacts.
Specific Circumstances Preclude the Application of an Exemption
Even if the City had established that an exemption applies, specific circumstances and a significant impact associated with the installation at this specific location create an exception to the exemption. Hahn has a specific medical issue which most people do not have, as documented by her physician. Therefore, the physical impact of the proposed installation at this specific location will create a significant impact that creates an exception to the categorical exemption relied upon by the City.
We have an opportunity to present our arguments again, this time before the Long Beach City Council, as required by CEQA. A date has not been provided yet. We will keep 2UrbanGirls informed.
Mark Hotchkiss and Moira Hahn