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Anyone know the function of the new tower at Brett Hart park?

Original post made by jrm on Dec 10, 2010

Driving by there this morning I noticed the new looming tower at the intersection of Camino Tassajara and Diablo Road. Is this a cell tower? If so, are there plans to camouflage it with pseudo tree branches? Now that most of the leaves have fallen down from the trees surrounding the tower it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Comments (27)

Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet, a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

Dear Dolores,

Humorists among our Alamo region were making a list of what the tower could be. "It's the handle of a large dip stick to see how much oil is under Mt. Diablo before they start drilling," noted Vince. Keith noted that it is a cell tower and it will be decorated to resemble a large poplar tree, but had to ask what a poplar tree looks like. Tom wants to believe it is a gantry for a local rocket club.

What was interesting was no one actually identified the purpose of the tower. May we have the answer of its purpose from the Express including its eventual configuration? Somehow I could imagine a tower wrapped in artfully configured neon tubes to provide humorous celebration for all that see the structure.

The ROFL in Ralph N. Shirlet

Posted by Brett Hart Neighbor, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 9:15 am

Ugg. Yes, I drive by the ugly thing several times a day. :( I am guessing it is a cell tower. I can't imagine what else it might be. I'm hoping someone in the know can shed some light on the matter.

Posted by Kathleen, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 11:23 am

I live in Diablo West and drive by the tower everyday. Why were we not given chance to approve the tower as we were when the first equipment was installed. That thing is an eye sore, at least grow some ivy or something on it. Maybe a visit to one of the council meetings we can get some answers.

Posted by collins, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm

When I questioned the workmen at the tower 2 months ago, I was told it was a cell tower. It belongs to ATT, the same folks who gave us the ugly boxes at the corner of Ramona Rd. I was told further that there are no plans to try to make it look like a tree, or to plant trees around it.

The problems I have with it:
1. It is UGLY
2. No one was given a chance to voice an opinion before it was built.
3. This is a PARK! What other parks in Danville have big cell towers in them?
4. I think ATT should beautify our park, in addition to doing something about te appearance ot their tower.

Any other thoughts?

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

jrm is a registered user.

My thanks to Collins for the specifics, that is what I suspected to be the case but I am surprised there are no plans to mitigate the visual impact, I will inquire at the town table at the Farmer's Market this coming Saturday and pass along what I learn. In instances in the past Geoff Gillett (sp?) from the town has monitored this forum and has proactively provided information on various subjects, perhaps he can similarly do so regarding this unexpected blight ruining this quaint little park.
Brett Hart Park is so named due to the famous author teaching for a bit at the Tassajara School I believe. It was totally neglected when I moved to the area 25 years ago, actually one time myself and a few other neighbors raked up the leaves and trimmed a few bushes and remarked what a shame it was to have this revert to brambles. A few years later the town did a nice renovation of sorts and put in the picnic table when the intersection was reconfigured.
It very well may be ATT made an attractive offer to the town to "lease" that space for the tower, but there should have consideration to minimize the visual impact, it looks like a missile launching site as it stands now and adding some fake branches would probably do the trick. So, Mr. Gillette, can you offer any background?

Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Thanks for all the questions. I spoke with Town Principal Planner David Crompton and was able to get some of the information you're looking for.

The wireless communication facility was originally installed in May of 2000 with a single cell provider having equipment on it. Last year another provider came to the Town and requested that they be allowed to place their antenna equipment on the tower as well. This request met the requirements of the Town's Wireless Communication Ordinance (which requires that antennae be co-located on a single tower where possible) and it was approved. The same ordinance also encourages wireless communication facilities to be located on public property where possible.

The main change you may have seen to the tower is that a tube has been put on the structure to both hide the various antenna arrays and provide some visual mitigation. These changes were approved by the Planning Commission in September of 2009.

There was some talk originally about housing the facility in an artificial tree to try to reduce the facilities visual impacts. However, it has been the Town's direction to not use artificial trees at least until their appearance becomes more realistic. Bushes have/will be planted around the ground level equipment cabinets to provide some screening, but no there are no plans currently to put trees around the tower itself.

It should be noted under Federal law local jurisdiction cannot outright deny the installation of these facilities, but can establish reasonable development standards to try and minimize any visual impacts.

If you have suggestions as to better ways to provide some aesthetic mitigation, or if you have further questions or concerns about the tower I encourage you to contact Town of Danville Principal Planner David Crompton. He can be reached at (925) 314-3349 or

Thanks again and have a great day!


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Posted by Hal, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Dear Dolores,

It is a pleasure to read Geoff's exceptional presentation and writing. I am sure that neighbors will create a solution to what truly looks like a launch gantry. Maybe town's artists and the nearby school could create a colorful rocket to scale to be located next to the tower.

If Alamo can have a cement coated horse on top of a nearly 100 year old temporary building, and the traditional community culture loves it, then it could be that Danville could grow to love their "space port." If you have read Brett Hart you can be sure he would approve of the metaphor.

Seriously, it seems that only an art project is missing, so how do your readers help?

Joyous wishes at Christmas

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2010 at 5:10 pm

jrm is a registered user.

Thanks for the prompt response Geoff! I remember the initial installation going in, the various antenna were inobtrusive and the existing vegetation provided sufficient coverage for an installation of that size. Upon the second company wanting to use the space as well it seems the finished result is a substantially larger footprint and tower impact. If the goal of the added cylinder was to mitigate the visual impact the end result was the exact opposite, it now resembles a large pipe jutting 40 or 50 feet high. I think the solution of an artifical tree facade similar to the one along Stone Valley Road would CLEARLY be more acceptable versus looking at this for another 3 or 4 years. The Alamo tree does not look that bad, IMHO. If Mr. Storer or Mr Arnerich (given their professional backgrounds) were to drive by, or park in Brett Park and see firsthand what this has now become I would hope we could entertain the thought of allowing this to be camouflaged to some extent.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

This has been an excellent use of a local town square forum, for a resident to bring up a local question and issue, and for the town information coordinator to answer the questions and pass on information to us residents. Thank you, JRM, for bringing up an issue many of us wondered about, and thank you Mr.Gillette for providing us with information. I would love it if in the future more time and space was used in a similar fashion.

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Hi Geoff: do you know if those cellular pirates are paying rent to our fair little burg, as this antenna is apparently on public property?

I certainly agree about the fake trees -- I recently saw one along the Grapevine -- a single majestic, metallic "redwood" in a sea of tumbleweeds. They are uglier than that which they're intended to disguise!

Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

@JRM - Thanks for the feedback. My understanding is that the reason the faux tree wasn't used initially was that it was distinctively different from the surrounding trees.

We certainly want you to feel that you're heard though, so please feel free to contact David Crompton with your thoughts and concerns. Or as you suggested earlier, chat with the Town Council at the Farmer's Market on Saturday.

Kudos for the great thread!


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Posted by collins, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I like Hal's suggestion about the rocket. What an unusual solution to an eyesore of a problem. If it cannot be hidden, show it off more.
I'm sure there are artists around here who would love the project.

There is an existing Redwood tree next to the TUBE that helps hide it from that angle. Perhaps a few more Redwood trees planted near it? Although we all know how the Town feels about Redwood trees. Perhaps then on to the ugly ATT boxes across on Ramona. A few shrubs were planted near one of the boxes. That did not work. You see, as some of us know, plants need water to grow!

Perhaps this is something for the Vista Grande Homeowners Association to bring to the Town as a group. Yes. there is an HOA!

Posted by Scrotey McBoingboing, a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Dec 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm


Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:23 am

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

I guess a few of us all must have been posting at the same time, as I didn't see American's or Citizen Paine's comments until this morning.

@American - Thank you for the nice words. I think this has been a very thoughtful and interesting thread. Glad I could help provide some info and will continue to try to do so.

@Citizen Paine - Yes, the Town does lease the space out to the providers. I don't know, offhand, what the rental price is.

@Collins & Hal - I'm not sure if we'd be able to construct a structure next to the cell tower itself but you should certainly offer that suggestion up. I'll pass on your thoughts, but it would also be good to let Principal Planner David Crompton know your concerns about the aesthetics and your thoughts on mitigation.

Thanks for all the great comments! Have a good day!


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

There probably was a "hearing notification" sent out to the neighborhood and nobody showed up. If this is true, then without deep pockets, I'm afraid the community may be stuck with the eyesore.

The Town has an Art Commission. Try that! Good luck. Want a bubble gum or tinsel solution? That may work with the Town Council. Suggest the community TP the thing when the stonewalling begins (study this, meeting that.)

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2010 at 9:41 am

jrm is a registered user.

I'm sure we can find a solution that makes "lemonade out of lemons" so to speak without having to wait years until the planners find contemporary fake tree limbs to be "more realistic".
I like the art option about painting the tube bright pink, put a big synthetic ribbon on the top and make this quaint little space a breast cancer survivors park with a few works of art. I have seen cancer survivors parks in other cities and it is a nice idea reflecting the hope and progress we have made in battling cancers of all types.

Posted by Duffy, a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2010 at 9:47 am

The advent of the horseless carriage brought the same level of acceptance. I think efforts to camouflage it are appropriate. Meanwhile I suggest that those who do not like cellular towers don't use their cellular phones! If there is no usage there is no need for the cellular antennas!

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

There are many art solutions possible. How about a Danville totem pole? One could affix images and forms onto the structure in a Danville designerly way? That would be in line with the comments on camouflage, and could incorporate pink bows, painted toes, plastic hoes and steel branches (something for everyone!)

The Town, however, has no Public Art Policy.

It would be nice if the owner of the tower would pay for the transformation, whatever that would be. Good luck.

Posted by collins, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

I like jrm and Bill's suggestions. There is a Totem Pole in Livermore, in a park. It is very nice to see, althought it is made of wood.
By the way, Bill, there was no notification sent out. Not for the current monstrosity, or the original. There was no notification sent out about the boxes on Ramona, either. We were once told by the town that the corner of Ramona and Camino Tassajara belonged to the HOA. That in response to a request for them to clear the privet that is choking the life out of the heritage oak that makes its home there.

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm

My thanks to Bill concerning the Danville Art Comission's potential role to perhaps take a look at this opportunity. I forgot we had one. I like the quaint little Eugene O'Neill quiet space across from the library and perhaps they had a role in that. This is a similar chance to polish a historic gem, at a historic street junction. Many local residents don't know that funky little street east of the park extending for a mere 100 yards (and Rincon Drive as well to the south) was part of the original route of the light rail to Diablo, completed in 1924. Why not carry on the author theme and celebrate Brett Hart...gee whiz, our city forefathers found it wise to name this slice of paradise after him and he educated some of our
pioneers. The fact it is next to a school is not lost on those of us with a sense of history. Just to clarify, I understand the utility of the cell phone, I am not suggesting a NIMBY thing, let's just make it better than a huge PIPE springing from the ground at a visible corner. Art is good...

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

Dear JRM, Hal, Collins and others,

If you folks want to go with an art solution, I am happy to give you my experience, strength and hope around that issue with the Town of Danville and the Danville Art Council. I am aware of scenarios that work and others that failed. The editor can facilitate a way for us to communicate outside of this forum.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm


Here's a great artful solution:

Lets build a 100 ft godzilla standing over the tower. Hairy, Huge and Hungry.

We must combine art and apes! We must!


Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Dec 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Great! Then the green tube could be painted with some strategic yellow and black stripes to make it resemble a bamboo shoot, Godzilla's favorite appetizer/toothpick. Food for thought.

Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 19, 2010 at 10:15 am

jrm is a registered user.

Bill and Kevin...please stop monkeying around, this is SERIOUS....just kidding I hope you know...I waited until the rain let up a bit yesterday morning so by the time I made it to the market there was no "town table" I could see, actually I hope our fine Town Council members were home warm and dry on a day like that anyhow. I am going to email Mr. Crompton advising of our concerns and just ask a few questions relative to the public notification process and subsequent efforts to minimize the visual blight on one of Danville's original parks. I will request he post an answer to all of us, similar to Geoff's fine efforts at facilitating the efficient flow of answers to community questions.

Posted by cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Dec 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

Uh, fellas? I don't want to be accused of Scroogeism here, but Godzilla is a huge mutant dinosaur, who "was conceived as a monster created by nuclear detonations and a metaphor for nuclear weapons in general." (ref. King Kong was the gorilla.

He, or she in later versions, tended to destroy cities and s/he breathed fire, which I would submit we've already had aplenty from our own giant corporate behemoths hereabouts. In fairness, there's no evidence that Godzilla fouls the groundwater.

With the proximity of Vista Grande elementary, maybe we should consider Barney the Dinosaur, instead?

Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Danville
on Dec 20, 2010 at 7:34 am

At Dublin H.S. near the third baseline of the baseball field there is an artificial tree cell tower. You need look real close because it blends in pretty well with the rest of the trees on the border of the campus. The Alamo cell tower is an eye sore, something needs to be done.

Posted by kevin, a resident of Danville
on Dec 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm


I like the way you think. You'd fit right in at our artists colony on Hartz Ave.

Excellent idea and great background information on the giant nuclear gorilla. A giant Barney or Dora would be awesome and quite possibly, more disturbing than Godzilla!)

I'm in.


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