San Francisco Groups Sue Over AT&T Utility Boxes

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MelissaCulross_180 Melissa Culross
Melissa Culross had intended to become a novelist but was side-lined...
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A coalition of community groups has filed suit to stop AT&T from installing hundreds of utility boxes on sidewalks throughout San Francisco because they believe the boxes will compromise the beauty of the city.

The utility boxes are necessary for AT&T to bring its U-Verse technology, which will provide entertainment and high-speed DSL to San Francisco. However, critics have said that 726 utility boxes would be an eyesore on city sidewalks.

“The boxes themselves are each four feet high, four feet wide, and about two and a half feet thick,” said Milo Hanke with San Francisco Beautiful, one of the community groups suing to require AT&T to undergo an environmental review before installing the boxes. “These things from any angle, and at any color are ugly, and when you put 726 of them together, that’s a cumulative effect.”

Hanke said an environmental review can recommend ways to mitigate any effects the boxes have on streetscapes.

Tedi Vriheas with AT&T said the company already has been working with the city on this issue.

“We have done extensive outreach to the community, meeting with hundreds of community groups and organizations, and we’ve worked with the board, we’ve worked with the Department of Public Works and the Planning Department,” said Vriheas.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors did vote to exempt AT&T from conducting an environmental review.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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