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The new water tower-like cell tower in North Park. / Photo by Randy Dotinga

North Park is getting a new landmark “water tower,” but anyone who tells you it’s real is all wet.

Residents and passersby have been buzzing for days about the weird-looking structure under construction at the eastern edge of North Park where Meade Avenue crosses the 805 freeway. City documents reveal it’s the skeleton of a 49-foot cell phone tower that will be disguised as a small water tower emblazoned with the name of the neighborhood.

North Park already has an iconic water tower, so the idea is that this will be a kind of faux twin.

How the heck did we end up with this thing? It’s all according to plan — the city’s General Plan. It says cell towers should be concealed in existing structures or hidden through “camouflage and screening techniques.”

Turns out there’s a whole industry devoted to hiding cell towers in fake houses, fake trees, fake rocks and even fake saguaro cactuses.

Is there a camouflaged cell phone tower in your neighborhood? Drop us a line (and a photo!) if you know of one. Or check databases like or to locate nearby towers that may be so hidden that you don’t even know they’re there.

Maybe you’ll find one in a grain silo, a big flagpole or – quirkiest of all – in a church steeple or cross. Makes sense because getting four bars in the middle of nowhere is nothing if not a religious experience.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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