Planning board considers new ‘monopine’ cell tower in Carmel Valley

Plans for a proposed new monopine cell tower at the back of Grace Point Church in Carmel Valley.
(Karen Billing)

In April the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board reviewed plans for a new 60-foot tall “monopine” cell structure toward the back of the Grace Point Church campus on Hayford Way, made to look like a towering pine tree.

The proposed new structure is positioned on the northeast corner of Grace Point, the west side of neighboring Congregation Beth Am.

Vicki Sisson, an agent for Dish Wireless, said the new antennas are part of the carrier’s 5G buildout in the San Diego area. A 25-year lease will bring revenue for the church and Sisson said the hope is to be through the city’s zoning and permitting process by the end of the year.

Sisson said with the monopine, they are attempting to blend it into its surroundings as best as they could but CV Planning Board Chair Frisco White said it does stand out in that area as there is no other landscaping around it or other trees. He said in some cases monopines are more noticeable than poles because they look fake.

The board encouraged the applicant to consider alternatives such as a pole, mounting antennas to a nearby light pole and to consider additional landscaping to take away some of the starkness of the monopine structure.

Most importantly, the board was looking for neighbor outreach.

Board member Michelle Strauss encouraged Sisson to speak with Congregation Beth Am because the tree could be towering over their site and she didn’t want them to be surprised by a huge new fake tree.

“Normally we like to know there has been some outreach with neighbors before taking any action,” agreed board member Allen Kashani.

The applicant agreed to return to the board’s Thursday, May 26 meeting.