Oct 16 2017

Council Continues Until Monday, October 30 Further Cell Tower Consideration

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 Responses to “Council Continues Until Monday, October 30 Further Cell Tower Consideration”

  1. The Towers project does not pass P.A.R.S.T. This stands for Piedmont Altitude Repulsivity Sniff Test. Almost all proposed locations were in lower Piedmont. My personal feeling is that any project too hazardous and aesthetically repulsive to be “dumped”in front of one of our city’s 35-room chateaux in Upper Piedmont is too hazardous and repugnant to be “dumped” in front of a beloved 800 sq.ft.Craftsman masterpiece in Baja Piedmont. If our council members whisper this mantra 3 times a day and follow it, they will not only do the right thing, they will be perceived as doing the right thing: a double win for politicians. Kudos to Council members King, Cavenaugh & Andersen, and a strong ethical start for Andersen,in buying more time for deep reflection regarding this matter.
    “Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming

  2. Kudos to council members for drilling down into the details that Crown Castle did not address, especially the question of noise from the vaults. It is the responsibility of the applicant not the City to show how it’s proposal will comply with city ordinances. Not doing so would seem to justify denial of the application. Staff felt it had adequate provisions for approval and to move forward but this application is a precedent for Piedmont and the city needs to set standards with this proposal. Approving an application for which the applicant could not show how it would comply with city ordinances is not the way to start.

    Unfortunately the issue of coverage, whether these cell towers are needed, cannot be easily disputed by the city. According to staff, the applicant has provided proprietary information to justify its claim that towers are needed. A speaker last night mentioned a 3rd Circuit case that has shifted that onus to the applicant. The city should consider legal remedies to address this question of coverage and need.

  3. And kudos to the residents who provided public testimony Monday night. Watch the replay on KCOM or city website if you can – the level of informed, rational and balanced comments rebuts any claim that this is a case of nimbyism. The suggestion that these residents want towers placed in neighborhoods other than their own was insulting.

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