Huntington Beach Cell Phone Towers in Parks Advisory Vote, Measure Q (November 2010)

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A Huntington Beach Cell Phone Towers in Parks Advisory Vote, Measure Q was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Huntington Beach in Orange County.[1] It was defeated.

Measure Q asked voters what they think about the construction of cell phone towers in Harbour View and Bolsa View parks.

Cell towers were set to be built in the parks in 2009 by national cell phone provider T-Mobile. However, residents protested the planned construction and the city blocked the construction. T-Mobile then sued the City of Huntington Beach in federal court because the city had issued building permits for the towers.

Huntington Park blocked construction of the towers because of the language of Measure C, a ballot measure enacted by residents of the city in 1990. Measure C prohibited the construction of any structure in a city park that costs more than $100,000 unless voters pre-approve the construction by voting on it.[2] Each of the planned towers would cost about $200,000.

Before the City of Huntington Beach blocked construction of the towers, it had issued building permits for them, under a contract with T-Mobile under which T-Mobile would pay the city about $2,500/month for 20 years for the privilege of constructing the towers on city park land.[2]

Election results

Measure Q
Defeatedd No35,83456.4%
Yes 27,674 43.6%
These final, certified results are from the Orange County elections office.

Federal lawsuit

On July 9, 2010, a federal judge ruled that Measure C could not be applied to the question of whether or not it was allowable to build the towers in the parks because the Federal Telecommunications Act trumps Measure C. The judge said that if the city was now determined to prevent the towers from going up, it would have to find some other grounds than Measure C.[1]

Subsequent to the July 9 ruling, the city decided to place an advisory vote on the November 2 ballot. The timing of that vote preceded another hearing on T-Mobile's federal lawsuit by 7 days. Some politicians in the city were under the impression that if voters said they do not want the towers on November 2, that this new information would sway the judge against T-Mobile. Others, however, doubted that this was the case.

Huntington Beach City Council member Don Hansen said, "I'm not supporting this advisory vote and the circus we are going to create to do that because I wouldn't feel comfortable denying somebody who's already done everything that they were supposed to do and backtrack. That opens so many cans of worms on any issue. All you need is a group of people to come down on any decision and you have chaos. That is not how it works."[1]

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