Verizon Wireless first proposed plans in 2009 to put a new cellphone tower at the Middlefield ballpark at 3675 Middlefield Road., which is owned by the league.
But some neighbor said they were opposed to the tower because they didn’t like the way it looked and and we’re afraid it could emit harmful radiation that could hurt the kids playing on the field.
Last night, Verizon held a sparsely attended community meeting at the ballpark, where it unveiled its thrice-revised plans to put one new cell tower, a new field light, a combined light and cell tower and some equipment at the ball field.
According to Verizon employee Charnel James, the company revised its plans a number of times so that the tower installation would be more spread out and also provide the benefit of two large lights for the field, which would illuminate the back area that is currently dark at night.
Resident Willy Lai told the Post he was upset that Verizon had only let residents know about the meeting three days ago and were holding the meeting on a Friday night when most people already have plans.
Lai said he was fearful that the radiation emitted by the cell tower would hurt kids and said that Verizon had blown him off when he tried to talk to them about the adverse health effects.
Resident Jason Yotopoulos, who is also opposed to the towers, said that when the ballpark was originally donated by John Arrillaga, he specified that the land should never be used for commercial development.
But league Board Member Mark Burton that the cell tower would bring in about $2,000 every month in much-needed funds.
For example, Burton said that the league wants to replace the sprinkler system, which is 60 years old. That alone, he said, would cost about $20,000.
After that, the league’s board would also like to put some coverings over the stands, and add a dugout and a batting cage.
“There are a lot of things we want to accomplish,” he said. And the towers would help them do that. It’s an opinion residents Ken and Sue Allen also share.
Allen, who is President of the Adobe Meadow Neighborhood Association, said he had walked up and down Middlefield Road to talk to neighbors.
Out of about 30 families he spoke to, only three were opposed to the towers. “We’re not worried at all. We think it needs to go in,” he said.
As for those who are opposed, Allen said their concerns didn’t make much sense to him.
“The radiation from a cellphone next to your ear is 25,000-times stronger than the radiation from a cell tower 50 to 100 away,” he said. “I hate to say it, but they’re not rational. Their opposition is based on old ideas.”
The plan for the towers will next be sent to the Architectural Review Board. But if some neighbors still oppose it, the plans could go before the Palo Alto City Council, James said.