Tribunal approves cell mast application

The Municipal Planning Tribunal has given the go-ahead for a 15m-high free-standing cell mast and base station at an office block at 20 Monte Vista Boulevard, also referred to as erf 63 (“Tower plan at tribunal,” Northern News, February 15).

This site was the alternative City planners had proposed, instead of Boulevard Play and Baby Centre (erf 235), where Telkom Mobile had hoped to build the cell mast (“Cell phone mast opposed,” Northern News, April 27, 2016).

At its meeting, in Bellville on Tuesday February 14, the tribunal agreed a mast at the creche “would be out of character due to height and non-residential appearance”.

Other reasons it gave for rejecting the creche optionwere that it would have “an adverse impact on the existing urban environment, the visual character and amenity of the surrounding residential area”.

The tribunal also said the application was not in line with the City’s cell-mast policy “with respect to co-location” and to consider use of council infrastructure such as lampposts.

But according to minutes from the meeting, tribunal member Simon Nicks did not support the plan for the mast to be built at 20 Monte Vista Boulevard “because it is embedded in a residential area”.

There were 17 objections to the MTN application for the mast to be built at that address, but according to the report, 13 of them were identical, with different signatures. In their objection, residents said sites such as N1 City Mall and the land at Goodwood prison should be considered.

Monte Vista Ratepayers’ Association (MVRA) previously told Northern News that it was not against cell masts, but it had “always been about location”.

MVRA secretary Riana de Wet confirmed that the proposal for 20 Monte Vista Boulevard had not found favour with residents.

“It is directly against residential properties,” she said. The association had also objected to another MTN proposal to build a mast at 94 Monte Vista Boulevard (erf 627).

The objection period for that proposal closed on Monday February 20.

“Again, I need to stress the objections are merely against the sites that get proposed and not the cell tower.

“Everybody would like better cell response, but as this is mainly a residential area, it is going to be difficult to find a spot that residents will be happy with,” she said.

Ms De Wet said residents had repeatedly proposed building the mast on Goodwood prison grounds.

The tribunal also approved a 15m-high base station at 2 Hayden Street, Kaapzicht. An application on the site, zoned local business, was approved in 2012, but it lapsed in August 2014.

Objectors said it would disturb the aesthetics of Panorama and the surroundings.

The applicant, however, said the base station was not planned for the residential area, instead it was surrounded by open space and businesses.

The tribunal said the base station “is unlikely to significantly affect the general character of the surrounding area”.