H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Jan 8, 2013 8:58 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Cell towers disguised to blend with natural scenery

People in Northern San Luis Obispo County could see better cell phone reception but what they probably won't see is where it's coming from.
Thursday, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission will decide whether to approve a proposal for three new "stealth" cell towers.

"The goal with these projects is to blend them into their existing setting so that they're not noticeable or visible to the public," said Airlin Singewald, of the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building.

However, it doesn't always turn out that way.

"It's made to look like a tree, but that's one of the funniest tree's I've ever seen and it's taller than anything else in the vicinity," said one local resident.

San Luis Obispo County planners hope building with the landscape in mind will help them avoid that type of reaction.

Two of the new sites are in Paso Robles and the third is in Santa Margarita.

According to county planners, proposals have been denied in the past based on their visual impacts.

One of the new cell towers will be disguised as a windmill and the other two towers are disguised as a two-story barn and a 61-foot faux pine tree.

"The new ones have a much higher density, the colors, the materials, are higher quality and much more realistic-looking," said Singewald, "they have an actual realistic bark texture, so the technology has come a long way."

The three proposals will go before the planning commission on Thursday at 9 a.m.

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