Smartlink Done ‘Playing Nice’ in Menifee


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Smartlink, representing AT&T, determined there’s an area in the town of Menifee, CA that needs better cell phone coverage. Though alternate locations were suggested, AT&T has said that the Wheatfield Park site is the only viable location, reports “We’ve received a lot of complaints about the service in this area,” said Alexis Hadley Dunlap of Smartlink, Inc..

 The proposal for the Wheatfield Park location would hide the tower behind a clock tower facade. The structure itself would be 70 feet tall, and placed to the rear of the park’s multi-purpose room. When questioned why this site was selected, Tyler Kent of AT&T responded, “Wheatfield is the only one that was zoneable and had a willing landlord.”

Residents looked for a loophole that would allow Menifee to circumvent the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Assistant city attorney, Ajit Thind, told the planning commission, “Federal law limits what a city can consider regarding the request for a wireless communication tower. We’re not allowed to consider radio emissions. I know concerns have been expressed by the public, but the issues we can consider are limited to things like aesthetics and zoning issues.” 

In a 3-2 vote, the Menifee Planning Commission turned down AT&T’s request for a conditional use permit. Responding to claims that AT&T was forcing the cell tower placement, Kent explained: “We’re not forcing anybody. The FCC is forcing this. We’ve been having this discussion for years.” The denial indicates that the discussion is not over.

“AT&T does want to play nice with the neighbors. However, we don’t have many options,” Dunlap said.

August 19, 2019   

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