Oct 16 2017

At the October 16, 2017 Council Meeting, the matter of Crown Castle cell tower installations were considered.

Errors in the cell tower applications, hazards, incomplete information, safety, aesthetics, tree preservation, property value reduction, need, fire hazards, and noise were some of the issues raised in the over 3 hour public hearing with numerous impassioned speakers opposing approval of the cell towers. 

The Council voted unanimously to deny approval of five applications which are located at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue. 

Concerns expressed by three of the Council members, King, Cavenaugh, and Andersen led to their voting no to motions by Councilmember Rood and seconded by Mayor McBain to conditionally approve three proposed sites at or near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue.  

Without the required 3 approving votes, the motions failed leading to a decision to continue further consideration of the 3 remaining sites noted above until a Special Council Meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 30.  

Staff was directed to bring back additional information on noise factors and detailed descriptions of proposed vaulting and other potential areas for denial.

3 Comments »
Oct 15 2017

FIRES, EARTHQUAKES, SAFETY PROBLEMS, STORMS –

The Wine Country fires point out the need for Piedmonters to participate in Alameda County’s emergency notification system.  

The AC Alert Emergency notification is available to all Piedmonters. Click below to get started:

AC Alert Emergency Notification System

The City has transitioned to the “AC Alert” system powered by Everbridge to make sure you know about issues that may affect your safety. This system allows the City to contact thousands of residents in seconds so you can find out about an emergency right away.

Please sign up – it only takes about a minute to enroll!  <

READ MORE

Oct 15 2017

City Notice:

Wireless Application for Sites Near Piedmont High School  Mon., Oct. 16th – 7:30  PM  City Council Chambers

The City Council considered the Wireless Communication Facilities Permits and Variances submitted by Crown Castle NG West LLC and Beacon Development at its regular meeting on October 2, 2017. The City Council continued the Public Hearing to its regular meeting of October 16, 2017 and directed staff to prepare draft resolutions approving, with conditions, the proposed sites at or near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue. The Council directed staff to prepare draft resolutions denying the applications at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue. The City Council will take action on these applications at the October 16, 2017 regular meeting. The staff report and attachments for this Council meeting are available on the City Council Staff Report Page. The City Council directed staff to work with the applicant to improve the design proposed for 314 Wildwood Avenue and to present the application and plans to the Park Commission before Council action on the proposal.


Crown Castle and Beacon Development filed applications in November 2016 for nine Verizon distributed antenna system wireless communication facilities, located generally around Piedmont Park and Piedmont High School. Crown Castle is a company that builds wireless communications facilities and then leases them to wireless service providers, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. The projects consist of five installations on the tops of existing utility poles, three installations on the tops of existing street light poles, and one installation on a new light. The applicants have proposed that ground equipment related to the pole top antennas be located in various locations including cabinets shaped like mailboxes, behind shrouds mounted on poles and street lights, and in underground vaults in the sidewalk. The proposal will require review by both the Park Commission and Planning Commission, as well as final approval from the City Council. Click to read more information about the application and the review process.

READ MORE

Oct 15 2017

Report: Cell Towers, High School Parking, Bond Reissuance –

On October 2nd, 2017, a City Council meeting was held in the Piedmont Council Chambers. After the pledge of allegiance the council held a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. The council then started going through the Consent Calendar, in which the Mayor removed himself from voting on item 6 [concerning private undergrounding bonds: Consideration of Direction to Staff Regarding the Possible Refinancing of the Bonds of the Dudley, Mountain, and Blair Avenues Underground Assessment District; the Wildwood and
Crocker Avenues Underground Assessment District; and the Piedmont Hills Underground Assessment District] because he was a resident of the neighborhood impacted by the bonds.

The next item on the agenda was the Public Form where a couple of stunning young lads, Lane Bentley [author] and Julian Turner, got up to talk about the incredibly painful parking issue that occurs around the high school campus. They suggested that we open the Community Center parking lot which is near the Main Park for parking all day during school hours.

Once they finished the Public Forum, the Council moved on to the main topic of discussion which was the proposed cell phone tower plan by Crown Castle. There are many sites proposed lying throughout Piedmont mostly in residential areas and parks on top of telephone polls.

Kevin Jackson, Planning Director,  stated facts about the Crown Castle communications debate on the telecommunications issue.

The next person to speak was Pierce MacDonald-Powell of the City Planning Department, who noted all the sites of the cellular towers and stated additional facts addressing the issue. After which, two representatives of Crown Castle got up and spoke on behalf of the company. They said that the towers were not breaking any rules or safety regulations and that Crown Castle has worked with the city of Piedmont in order to try to reach a compromise.

After the two Crown Castle members spoke it was time for the public to speak. Every single person to get up and speak address the council pleaded there disinterest in the towers due to variety of things. One of those was aesthetics, almost mentioned the damage to the aesthetics of Piedmont.

A more serious issue with the cell phone towers that was brought up was health concern. One man was stating that one of the towers was no more than 10 feet from a family’s balcony. Another speaker mentioned how the FCC safety regulation regarding the radius of radiation was inaccurate because the “safe” frequencies have caused harm.

A couple of speakers mentioned a medical condition that these towers cause where the electromagnetic fields from the towers cause pulsation and pain within a person’s head. Their argument was that since the government is requiring these cell towers, they cannot cause harm on the people of the state because that would go directly against protection laws.

Another man living near Witter Field said that the plates they were going to use for the sidewalk next to the cell phone tower would cause noise pollution and ruin the peace for those living near Witter Field.

Unfortunately, I had to leave in the middle of the public hearing, but on my way out I interview a young boy who was at the meeting, his name is JD. He told me that he was there for the Boy Scout merit badge – Citizenship in the Community. He didn’t have much else to say as far as his concerns and issues that he wants changed, but he did state that his view of the issue changed.

When I asked JD about his thoughts on the meeting, he told me that he really didn’t have any prior knowledge of the meeting, but he did say, “At first I thought that the cell phone towers were all beneficial, but then I learned about all the potential health effects that come with them.” JD was also surprised about the amount of people that were so strongly opposed to the towers. JD is still working on his merit badge and becoming an Eagle Scout and hopes that there are no cell phone towers outside his house.

A City Council meeting happens about twice a month and the City Council members consider actions and take input from the residents of Piedmont about certain problems and issues affecting our community.

by Lane Bentley, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 14 2017

Which Towers Will Council Approve?  Which Towers Will Council Deny?

The Wireless tower installations applications will be approved or denied on Monday, October 16 at the regular City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber.  Perhaps one can guess the outcome by the following action previously taken by the Council:

The City Council continued the Public Hearing to its regular meeting of October 16, 2017 and directed staff to prepare draft resolutions approving, with conditions, the proposed sites at or near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue.

The Council directed staff to prepare draft resolutions denying the applications at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue.

Read the staff report HERE.

Oct 14 2017

At the beginning of the Monday, October 16 Council meeting, the City Clerk will swear in Elizabeth Smegal Andersen to fill the vacant seat on the Council. Andersen will serve during the unexpired term ending in December 2018 of former Councilmember Jeff Wieler.

The Council meeting, open to the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber and broadcast live on Channel 27 and the City’s website under videos. 

Oct 14 2017

At the October 16 Council meeting, the City Council is expected to appoint Lynne Wright Chair of Piedmont’s Public Safety Committee (PSC) on the recommendation of the committee following the September 15 resignation of Chair Lori Elefant, effective September 28, 2017. Elefant will remain a member of the PSC.

Oct 11 2017

Piedmonters are alerted to be watchful if their power is unexpectedly turned off.

On October 10, 2017, at 10:30 p.m., a home invasion robbery occurred in the City of Piedmont. It is believed that the suspects shut off the power to the victim’s residence to lure them outside. While inspecting the cause of the power outage outside of the home, one of the residents was confronted by one of the suspects who was armed with a firearm. Two additional suspects simultaneously confronted another resident inside the home.

The initial victim confronted outside was forced back into the residence at which point the three suspects demanded valuables from the victims and searched the house for items of value to take. One of the suspects struck one of the victims in the head with his firearm during the incident.

The three suspects took cash, electronics and other items of value from the home and victims before fleeing the scene in an unknown direction.

The suspects were described as follows: Suspect #1 was described as a black male adult in his 20’s, 5′ 8″, last seen wearing all black possibly wearing a mask or beanie, and armed with a black semi-automatic handgun. Suspect #2 is described as a black male adult in his 20’s, 6′ 0″, last seen wearing all black possibly wearing a mask or beanie, and possibly armed with a black semi-automatic handgun. Suspect #3 is described as a black male adult in his 20’s, shorter, last seen wearing all black clothing. It is unknown whether this suspect was armed.

The robbery took place in the 1300 block of Oakland Avenue.  

For future reference, readers may locate crimes on the following website of the Piedmont Police Department:

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/police/crime.shtml

Anyone with information related to the robbery case is asked to contact Piedmont Detective Willie Wright at (510) 420-3013.

2 Comments »
Oct 11 2017

Soot and smoke blowing into the city –  

Piedmont residents have been directly impacted by the numerous fires north of Piedmont.  Elderly residents, those with compromised health, and young children have been advised to not linger or exercise outdoors when smoke is evident in the air.  Windows should be closed. 

The fires remind Piedmonters to prepare for an emergency such as a wildfire.

To learn how Piedmonters can prepare for emergencies go to the following links:

Click for Preparation Checklist > HERE.

The booklet, GET READY, PIEDMONT! was prepared for all Piedmonters.  The booklet is online > HERE.

Oct 11 2017

Is your neighborhood prepared for a major earthquake, wildfire, or other emergency?

Piedmont has a program to help neighborhoods come together to help each other. Would you like to help organize your block to join the other 30 Piedmont neighborhoods that have participated?

Communities across America have successfully implemented the “Map Your Neighborhood” (MYN) program to organize and prepare for public safety disasters in their communities. It is focused on neighborhoods with 15-25 adjacent residences (although there is flexibility on either end.)

The Piedmont Public Safety Committee and the Piedmont Fire Department will help facilitate MYN meetings which usually last 90 minutes. MYN provides a ready reference for actions to be taken before and after an earthquake, including mapping neighborhood utility shut-offs, preparing a neighborhood roster, and developing a process to check on the safety of all neighbors, particularly persons who are alone, disabled, or otherwise requiring assistance.

The program also provides a process to identify vital skills and resources that may exist in a neighborhood.

If you would be willing to organize your block or find out more about the program, please contact Sheila March at smarch@piedmont.ca.gov or (510) 420-3010.