Palisades Residents Irked by New Telephone Pole

By Sue Pascoe

Condominium residents at 15330 Albright, whose balconies face Sunset across the alley from Ogden Cleaners, had a rude awakening on Oct. 26.

In the alleyway near their building, Frontier Communications workers were digging a hole in order to install a new telephone pole less than 10 feet from an existing utility pole.

“They don’t see people living here, so they think it’s the back of the building,” said Amy Soufo, who has lived in a ground-level untit with her husband Eli (the Shell auto mechanic) since 1986. The Soufos and other residents in the building will have their views impaired by the new pole.

This utility pole, located 10 feet from another one, blocks condo owners’ views. Photo: Bart Bartholomew
This utility pole, located 10 feet from another one, blocks condo owners’ views. Photo: Bart Bartholomew

Neither the homeowners association nor the residents were notified about the new pole, nor the reason it was going in.

On nearby Swarthmore, DWP workers were installing new electrical wiring. Earlier, a spokesperson told the News that the electrical poles at the former Swarthmore parking lot needed to be moved in order to dig Caruso Affiliated’s underground parking garage.

Temporary power poles were placed around the perimeter of the Caruso project, including on Monument Street, with plans to eventually place utility wires underground.

With the poles being taken down, the one which held Frontier wires would need a support wire—which would have to be anchored in the driveway of the parking lot behind the remaining Swarthmore stores. Unfortunately this wire would block access to the driveway

Condo residents Will Maguire, Alan Beck and Amy Soufo sought out Caruso engineer Kevin Wheeler in front of the P2 skate shop on Swarthmore on Oct. 27.

“Her unit will look out right at the pole,” Maguire told Wheeler, who explained that the Frontier pole is supposed to be temporary—“and will relieve the weight of the line.”

Maguire and Beck said that nobody in the homeowners association had been notified and that they had asked Frontier to produce a permit, but hadn’t received one yet.

Wheeler walked with the residents over to the site of the proposed pole on the alleyway.

“When they [Frontier] started, they didn’t tell anyone about it,” Soufo said. “They were sneaky.”

If the pole went into the planned location, not only would it wreck views, but as Beck pointed out, “My main concern is for the safety of the building. It will be harder for a fire truck to park here and get a ladder up—or to get equipment to the emergency exit.”

Wheeler continued to listen as the residents voiced their frustration.

Then condo resident Michael Branch summarized the situation. “The pole is not strong enough because they [DWP] are taking out all the poles in the alley for the Caruso project,” he said.

“Her unit will look out right at the pole,” Maguire said.

Wheeler reminded him that when the project was done property values would go up.

“For us the detriments outweigh the benefits,” Branch said. “But the Caruso project is a done deal and our neighbors are happy about it. We have to accept it, make the best of it and move on with our lives.”

“The pole is temporary,” Wheeler said.

“Temporary for how long?” Branch asked. “I know you’re just trying to do your job, but there would be no reason for Caruso to shell out money to fix it once the project is done.”

“I’m going to make some calls,” Wheeler said. “I will try to figure out a solution.”

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