SF Beautiful celebrates stay order in legal battle over AT&T boxes

The battle over AT&T’s plan to install up to 726 utility boxes throughout San Francisco is now in the courts and San Francisco Beautiful is celebrating Monday’s decision by Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn to prevent any box installations while the legal battle continues.

San Francisco Beautiful, a nonprofit group fighting to preserve The City’s natural beauty, has joined forces with several neighborhood groups — San Francisco Tomorrow, the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association — to take on the telecommunications giant arguing that an environmental impact review must be conducted before the boxes could be considered for installation.

AT&T, which has done similar installations in other California locations, has argued no such report is required and it has done no such review in other locations. California law known as the California Environmental
Quality Act requires such reports when a project will have “significant” impact on the environment.

The Board of Supervisors approved of AT&T’s boxes.

For AT&T, the box installation has been a long, drawn out effort. In 2008, the telecommunications company proposed installing 850 boxes in San Francisco to bring customers digital TV, high-speed Internet and digital home-phone service. A groundswell of opposition then prompted the company to walkway and focus in other cities. Then AT&T returned with this scaled-down proposal to install 726 boxes, which are 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.

SFBeautiful opposes the boxes for a number of reasons. It says they don’t belong on city sidewalks, will act as graffiti magnets and could impede sidewalk traffic.

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