The city of San Diego will soon have coverage in Carmel Valley for a 150-site small cell network by Mobilitie without help from vetoed Senate Bill 649. The nodes and antennas, along with an underground vault and a UE Relay will be installed on city-owned street lights based on network needs, according to a report from Del Mar Times.
Mobilitie was required to secure a master use and occupancy permit in order to develop the network. According to Paul Brencick, senior public information officer for the San Diego Development Services Department, the city reviewed the project and found that it met the criteria of the California Environmental Quality Act, which allows existing facilities to be modified when there is a “negligible expansion of use.”
Senate Bill 649 would have allowed cell antennas to be constructed on public property without having to go through local review; it was passed by the Senate and assembly but vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown in October of 2017, Inside Towers reported. The bill would have also capped the lease amount for each small cell space at $250. San Diego’s current rate for small cell sites is $4,000 annually per site; the city takes in approximately $4.2 million each year from telecommunication deals.
Even residents who have reservations about the project understand the need for expanded service and the convenience of using existing structures. Carmel Valley resident Amnon Ptashek, speaking to Del Mar Times, said, “The cell site is shrinking and they need to put in more sites, which I understand. Using city light poles makes sense because it reduces infrastructure and consumption of electricity if you do it nicely.”