Nicasio cell tower plan ill-received

David Briggs
A new proposal by AT&T to erect a cell tower at a crossroads outside Nicasio drew critics to a site meeting last Friday. Some saw the plan to disguise the device as a water tower as ill-conceived, but the local landowners association’s main complaint was that it would disrupt the view. Above, a group of 15 huddle over architectural plans on the Dolcini Ranch opposite the Nicasio Reservoir, at the exact location of the proposed cell tower.

A cell tower designed to look like a water tower has caused some consternation among local residents concerned about Nicasio’s pastoral landscape.

The Nicasio Design Review Board met with an AT&T representative on Friday evening to discuss plans for a new cell tower. The facility, which would be designed to look like a water tower and located on the Dolcini Ranch near the intersection of Point Reyes-Petaluma and Nicasio Valley Roads, drew concerns and questions on Friday.

Board members told the telecommunications company that they did not see how the current design and location could meet the board’s design standards and asked AT&T to investigate moving it to an unobtrusive location. Bill Harrison, a longtime Nicasio resident and board member, said the project as proposed “doesn’t fit our guidelines in spirit or in technicality,” and disturbed the scenic area.

One board member said the fake water tower would be “like having a motor boat on the freeway.” Ranch owner Brian Dolcini said there are dead spots on his dairy and that “if it helps people, great.” While others objected to health hazards, Mr. Dolcini, reasoned: “What people don’t realize is, there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of these cell towers all over” anyway.

Lane Kasselman, a communications director at AT&T who lives in Marin, said the tower would provide the area with the faster data coverage than most major California cities. He said there would be “dramatic improvements” to reception and speed, adding that AT&T is working on plans for additional sites in West Marin to improve such coverage.

As for its appearance, he said, “We’re going to go through the full design review process [and address concerns as best as possible].”