A utility pole overlooking Crystal Cove State Park — which Coastal Commission staff said significantly degraded public views — has been removed.
“It’s gone,” said Ken Kramer, a state park district superintendent. “It was taken down sometime last week.”
Kramer did not know who removed the 30-foot metal pole. The pole was placed by the NextG telecommunications company with a February 2010 permit from the California Department of Transportation.
State park officials and members of the public complained about the pole, and during a Newport Beach City Council meeting in July, then Mayor Keith Curry told NextG officials that their pole, and requests to add even more poles, was “about as offensive to as many people in the city as it could possibly be.” (Read our story here.)
The California Coastal Commission had posted a notice of pending permit on the pole, and NextG officials said they might consider moving the pole across the street to the inland side of East Coast Highway. In March, however, Coastal Commission staff said there no longer was a pending permit for the pole; read our story here.
In a letter dated April 8, the Coastal Commission wrote to NextG and said the pole did not comply with the California Coastal Act.
“No CDP (coastal development permit) was issued for the installation of a utility pole in this location; therefore, its presence constitutes a violation of the Coastal Act,” the letter states.
“Additionally, the location of this pole significantly impacts the scenic landscape by obstructing public views of the sea and degrading visual resources along Pacific Coast Highway including views of surrounding bluffs and state park,” the letter states.
The letter also states that thousands of daily commuters, recreationalists, sightseers and beach visitors enjoy the view, which has been designated as “Visually Significant Land” in the Newport Beach Local Coastal Plan.
“As a result, Crystal Cove State Park now comprises one of the most extensive areas of open coastal shelf in Newport Beach,” the letter sates. “Unfortunately, the subject utility pole is not visually compatible with the character of the surrounding region…”
The letter gave NextG a deadline of April 22 to contact Coastal Commission staff to discuss the pole’s removal.
NextG officials did not reply to an email seeking information and comments for this story.
“We are pleased that the pole has been removed and that the coastal view shed has been restored,” Kramer said. “That’s what we were after.”
Photos courtesy of Ken Kramer.