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Calabasas, CA, Wireless Regulations Developments


Updated May 22, 2011


Kudos to Calabasas city officials and residents for taking action and joining a growing movement across the region, state and nation, to strengthen local wireless regulations. 

It's important to note what's happening in Calabasas, because in some ways, it mirrors what's happening in Burbank:

1) Calabasas residents oppose a T-Mobile cell tower proposed for Las Virgenes Water District property at a water tank only 50 feet away from residents in an R-1 zone.   Does this sound familiar?  (Burbank hillside residents oppose a T-Mobile cell tower proposed for Burbank & Water property at Brace Canyon park next to homes and schools in an R-1 zone!) 

2) Due to this cell tower fight, the City of Calabasas residents asked the City to update its wireless ordinance like other cities are now doing, and the Mayor and City Council directed staff to begin this process.  (Similarly: Resident concerns about the proposed T-Mobile cell tower in the Burbank hillside helped spur the City of Burbank to begin updating its wireless facility ordinance.)

The Mayor and City Council of Calabasas have directed their staff to present recommendations that "push the edge."  Unlike the City of Burbank, the City of Calabasas has a Communications and Technology Committee. that is helping the city to update its wireless facility ordinance.   Meanwhile, residents have organized their own independent Citizens Review Commission, and Ms. Liat Samouhi is helping to lead and organize its efforts in opposing the proposed T-Mobile cell tower and helping the city to update its wireless ordinance.  The CRC  members have attended and offered public comment at the city's public hearings to offer suggestions and recommendations on why the City should deny the proposed T-Mobile cell tower, and ways to improve the city's updated wireless facility regulations. 

As a reminder: Our Burbank City Council members initially told staff that they want to have an ordinance that protects residents and schools to the full extent of the law.  As our City continues to work on its updated ordinance, will they fulfill their promise?  Will they also look to Calabasas and Glendale and take resident input and suggestions to help them update our wireless facility regulations? 

Here are the latest developments in Calabasas.  In some ways, Calabasas is following the path of what happened in Glendale, denying the proposed T-Mobile cell tower near homes, and aggressively working at creating a strong wireless ordinance in response to residents concerns and input:

Local Cell Tower Battle in R-1 zone

Oct. 21, 2010, Thu, Planning Commission Public Hearing: Victory for residents in Calabasas.  Planning Commission votes to deny the proposed T-Mobile cell tower on Las Virgenes Water District property near residents' homes, due to the Water District (property owner) refusing to indemnify the city.  Kudos to residents for taking action and telling your local officials at the public hearings why they should deny this proposed project. 

For video of this meeting, Click "Item 2: File No. 100000520" in the left blue box area: http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=3052.   Public hearing starts at 6:36 into meeting.  The residents did an awesome job of presenting their concerns and reasons to deny.  Please watch resident Liat Samouhi at 40:42 for her heartfelt comments and photos of her children; I am sure that all of us who are campaigning against a cell tower near our families relate to the personal sacrifices she has made in order to assert her rights and protect her family.  Near the end of the public hearing, Walter Gaworecki, a representative from T-Mobile and Synergy, presents his Comments and reasons to approve the project; if denied, he says the alternative location would be a location in the public right of way and adds that T-Mobile has not decided whether it will pursue that yet.  Commissioners at 1:18:00 vote unanimously to approve resolution to deny the application for the proposed cell tower. 

View and download Staff Report here: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/planning/2010/102110/item2-staff-report.pdf
View an download Resolution 2010-497 here: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/planning/2010/102110/item2-exhibit-a.pdf
View and download July 29-2010 Letter from Las  Virgenes Water District refusing to indemnify City: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/planning/2010/102110/item2-exhibit-c.pdf


Updating the City of Calabasas' Wireless Facility Ordinance


Oct. 19, 2010 Tue.: Communications & Technology Committee Meeting:

City of Calabasas
Communications and Technology Committee  (CTC) has formed a subcommittee to compile recommendations to present to City Council. The City has also asked resident leader Liat Samouhi to chair the newly formed Citizen's Review Commission.  Read story here: 

 
For Video of the meeting, and Minutes, go here: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=15
November 9, 2010 Tuesday: CTC Subcommittee Meeting

The CTC subcommittee has compiled recommendations!  
The subcommittee members are very clear in how they believe they have heeded the Sept. 22 directions of the Mayor and City Council to come up with recommendations that push the edge.  Members of the community provide additional input and support for these recommendations during the public hearing comment time, including the need for applicants to prove a significant gap and show their proposed site is the least intrusive on the residents, and the need to move public right of way installations out of the director of public works hands.  Commissioner Jaime Dougherty mentions how as a school parents he was not notified about the cell towers proposed near the schools.  The commissioners unanimously approve the subcommittee recommendations, while also making sure to include notes and suggestions that the community members and commission members made at tonight's hearing in what will be prepared to present before City Council tomorrow night.


For Video of the meeting, go here and "click" Item 4, "Review of the City's Wireless Ordinance": http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=15&clip_id=3078

Meanwhile, on Nov. 10, 2010, the Calabasas Patch publishes a story about an AT&T cell tower that the public works department approved for the public-right-of-way at a public park,
"Construction at Wild Walnut Park for Future Cell Site: The parking area in the park is considered a public-right-of-way and is being used for a mostly underground AT&T cell phone facility
."  Resident Liat Samouhi and Linda Stock point out that this approved installation illustrates why there is an urgent need for a moratorium, and that the current ordinance is supposed to discourage wireless facility installations in open spaces, parks and playgrounds; Ms. Stock also asks if this facility is necessary, and if the applicants have shown a signifcant gap exists and if this is the least intrusive site: http://calabasas.patch.com/articles/construction-at-wild-walnut-park-for-future-cell-site

November 10, 2010 Wed:
City Council Meeting - Mayor and City Council receive
Staff Report on Communications and Technology Committee recommendations


CTC Submcommittee members Michael Brockman and Jamie Daugherty presented their recommendations.  Mr. Brockman reported: "This is kind of a moving target.  We're sitting in the midst of a technological revolution.  We started out with analog, and moved to digital, and now we're into what they call 3G.  There is some documentation here, from a firm called Plan Wireless, and they are quoting a financial analyst from Morgan Stanley/Dean Whitter, he says that 3G networks may require up to 3 times the amount of sites of existing 2 G networks.  We could be looking at treble the number of towers that exist within the city.  So what is really imperative is in trying not to stifle that growth but to channel it, we need to take this document that we have (ordinance that was written a few years ago) and bring it up to current standards, and try and write it in such a way as to anticipate those things that are coming." 

He added:
"The current status is you asked us to do what we're now doing.   We have no further responsibility.  I think we would like to see ourselves more involved in light of the growth, but that is up to you.  What I think is needed is a combined effort on the  part of ourselves, the planning commission, the staff, and the lawyers to try and bring to as much speed and accuracy to the revising of this document as we can.  The areas of theses cell towers are so intricately tied to the technology, and to zoning and land use, it is impossible for either organization to deal with it solely.  I think for the benefit of ourselves, for the city's leadership, for the benefit of the residents, some kind of joint effort is needed to bring this along hopefully at a rapid speed and hopefully bring the best of all of the areas' expertise to the table in order to get a satisfactory document.  Maybe a subcommittee made of ours and the planning commission to start to work on this document, of course with the staff, so that all of the times of both commissions isn't tied up."

Mr. Brockman also pointed out at the meeting: "We had a tremendous amount of help from the community to provide us with a lot of documentation about other entities that are going through this.  It is not just a problem of Calabasas.   It involves many jurisdictions."

Mayor Barry Groveman responded by commending their work as "a lot of work" and an "outstanding product" and he noted recommendations of merit: "I noticed compliance and location restrictions...so I just I thank you for voluntarily as commissioners doing such a thorough job on a very difficult problem, this is above and beyond, and I really appreciate it."

During public comment, two members from the wireless industry spoke and asked that they be able to work with the city as it moves forward in this issue. 

In particular, Jamie Hall from the California Wireless Association, asked for a tiered approach that encourages stealth designs so that the wireless companies "don't have to go through the full CUP process before the Planning Commission," and a relaxation of the prohibition in residential zones, open spaces and park so that "stealth" siting can be used.  "We need to figure out a way to provide service in those residential pockets. We stand willing to work with you in working with the city and members of the public."

Another industry rep came from Verizon Wireless: "The economy is in bad shape, and more than ever people need to complete their phone calls," she said, and mentioned how people need reception on their Blackberries to find out about any job leads.  "It is a consumer driven technology, we're here because people want these technologies.  We hope to work with you."

Mayor Groveman invited the reps to meet with him and talk about how they can sit down and work with members of the community, too, to help the city move forward while addressing the resident's concerns.  "
It's about calming everybody's fears," he said.  "We also need oil, but we don't want it all over the ocean.  How far will you go to address some of these concerns?"

Members of the public then spoke.  Steve Brecht brought up the fact that he purchased a cell phone booster box for $99 and his cell phone signal is fine now (as an option to cell tower installations), that Calabasas took the lead with barring second-hand smoke, which was a quality of life issue, and so Calabasas should take the lead in this issue and adopt a moratorium. 

Another resident, Jeri Berko (excuse any spelling errors of names here), pointed out. "There's never going to be a no gap in coverage.  We're in a mountainous area.  In order to cover every little gap, I myself would love to have service everywhere I go.  It's impossible. We would have a cell tower on every single block. "

Resident Linda Stock, who has been very active in offering recommendations from the community for the city to adopt, spoke about the need for a moratorium.  So did Saul Zeit, who said the City should also hire an analyst and adopt a moratorium so it can take the time it needs to do this job right.

Mary Hubbard spoke about how she support adopting all of the CTC recommendations.  "Concealment is not the main issue, and aesthetics is not the main issues.  Health is.   We oppose the tiered approach.  We would like to request an immediate moratorium on any pending applications and that the prohibition not be limited in residential areas. "

Dale Reichman gave "Dittos with what Mary just said," and wanted to add that the City expand notification from 30 to 60 days to "give people ample time to know what is going in there."

Jody Thomas: President of the Old Topanga Neigborhood Association, spoke to support residents concerns, and also to oppose the wireless facility installation in Walnut Park.  She opposed installations in "open spaces and being open to the highest bidder."

Lead resident in this issue, Liat Samouhi, emphasized the urgent need for a moratorium like other cities have done.  "We do not feel protected, we feel very much taken advantage of by the telecoms."

Then the Mayor and Council members commented on the issue. 

Councilmember Mary Sue Maurer said it would help them to know what are the priority items amongst the CTC recommendations.  She also mentioned how in the six years of serving on the Council, "I have not received a single call or e-mail from a single resident asking for service.  There is not a demand here for your product."  She added, in reflecting the needs and concerns of the residents opposing cell towers near their homes, parks and schools and addressing what the industry reps said at tonight's meeting, "I think you are wrong in thinking you have gaps you want to feel.  As a representative of our community, I have never heard anybody say they need more.  Towers in open space sounds good to you, but we worked really long and hard in purchasing and preserving -- and to just ask us to be more flexible for you, you don't know our community very well at all."

Mayor Groveman countered, saying "There are a lot of people who want good service.  To Verizon and the Association, I'm glad they came.  I'm seeing very rational, reasonable, methodical commissioners with very rational members of the community do this in a very rational way, and I see rational people from the industry, so I don't see why we can't sit down and talk.  This needs to go to the Planning Commission.  Let's see what we can do -- by sitting down and talk.  This is a balancing test.  Let's see how good we can get with this.  I'm encouraged by the rational approach everyone is taking.

Councilman James Bozajian said he wanted to make three points: Regarding putting cell tower in city-owned property, he said, "There is a benefit to that as long as we don't intrude on the open space aesthetics, because those areas aren't as populated."  Then he said he wanted to know, "Secondly, as far as the legal parameters, how far can we go?"  Then he brought up an issue that he had mentioned before, "Third: I do not believe it's in the best interest of the community to have director-level approvals." He pushed for making all wireless applications public (noticing, public hearing, etc.):  "Nobody can say they didn't know about it -- it comes to the council if need be.  I know it's going to take a little extra time, and staff does not want to do it.  I want to do it," he emphasized," and at least consider it at the next meeting when it comes back."

Mayor Groveman spoke about how he hoped the city could take the lead in working together with industry and the community in coming up with a solution. "Second-hand smoke was not barred until we barred it," he pointed out.  Council member Mary Sue Maurer suggested pursuing CTC commissioner Michael Brockman's recommendation to have a subcommittee work on this so it can present its findings to the Planning Commission.  However, the Mayor said it should follow the traditional route, and instead go directly to the Planning Commission next.  He also stressed the need to move fast.  The Council members were informed that this item will now go to the Planning Commission, and a Study Session can determine if there is a need for a moratorium or what other actions or study sessions may be required. 

Read Item 5 report, "COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY COMMISSION WIRELESS ORDINANCE CELL TOWER REVIEW, November 9, 2010": http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/council/2010/111010/item5-attachment.pdf

To Watch Video, go here and click Item 5, "Presentation by Communications and Technology Commission regarding telecommunications issues : http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3080

February 1, 2011, Tuesday: City Council Meeting 
Impressive progress due to terrific discussion of main issues and concerns by Mayor, City Council members, staff, and residents.  There's a shared vision in developing an ordinance that will set a new high standard in local wireless facility regulations that offer protections for residents.  Elise Kalfayan, resident of Glendale, CA, who lead the resident effort in her community for her city to adopt the strongest wireless facility ordinances in California, also attended this public hearing to provide Public Comment, including recommendations and feedback on proposed wireless facility regulations being considered by Calabasas. 
Watch the Feb. 1 City Council mtg, click Item 6 in the left column: http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3177.
For reference purposes, here are the CTC recs: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/age...ndas/council/2010/111010/item5-attachment.pdf
This public hearing on this issue would be followed up with a Planning Commission Workshop on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.
Just so you know, Calabasas has been at the forefront of adopting progressive ordinances that protect and preserve the health of residents and their environment.  It was the first city to adopt a second-hand smoking control ordinance (Feb. 2006).  In 2007, it adopted an ordinance banning food establishments and the city from Styrofoam food packaging (Feb. 2007), and recently approved an ordinance banning the use of plastic carry-out bags (Jan. 2011).   To read more about the city's forward-thinking ordinances, read, "Calabasas To Consider Ordinance To Regulate Plastic Bags," http://plasticbagbanreport.com/calabasas-to-consider-ordinance-to-regulate-plastic-bags/ 
February 17, 2011 Thursday:
Planning Commission Workshop (Educational Session)

You can watch video of the meeting and review the Agenda here: http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=3198.  Click Item #2 in the video (left) side of the screen to advance to discussion of the wireless facility ordinance. 

Here are some brief  notes.  Spelling of names may be incorrect.

California Wireless Association's Jamie Hall said that the city has barriers and bans all sites in residential zones, and also  has privately owned gated communities that have restrictions to wireless facility installations due to the city's zoning ordinance.  He said carriers are looking toward the public right of way that is closer to "sensitive receptors" -- i.e., residential areas.  They would like to ease restrictions to provide coverage to residents and keep facilities a certain distance away from "sensitive receptors."  That's why they support staff's recommendations looking at open spaces and parks and residential areas, on the condition that they're a certain distance away from "sensitive receptors."

At 16 minutes into the meeting: Calabasas resident Liat Samouhi said "striking a balance" should be the goal of siting a wireless facility installation in the community.  It's about protecting and preserving the property values, that what is built is safe.  "We want the oil, but we don't want it all over the ocean."   Mentioned in-home boosters, so consumers have a choice. 

The Planning Commission does a good job of reviewing, discussing and asking staff and Attorney consultant Jonathan Kramer, and the CTC staff, questions about the CTC recommendations.

At 1:48 Break for about 10 minutes.

2:01:00 The Planning Commission workshop resumed, and heard recommendations from City Staff, and public comment. 

Elise Kalfayan, a resident of Glendale, which has one of the strongest wireless facility ordinances in California with its preferred and tiered zones and setbacks, pointed out that the shot-clock doesn't begin until after the Supplemental Application is completed and reviewed and deemed complete.  She also mentioned what Glendale had done, including checking installations for compliance and potential public safety hazards, and preparing a map that showed where every installation is, and updated that map with each new installation or modification, that helped residents alot.  That extending the notification to 1,500 feet and bringing more residents in is a good thing and if it becomes burdensome then the city and support a resolution telling the state and federal government that it is such.

Here is what other Calabasas residents said (not sure about spelling of names):

Ben Rodriguez: As technology is updated and upgraded, then the ordinance needs to be, too.  Residents spent a lot of money hiring consultants to check the application and compliance -- they shouldn't have to do that.  The city should.  The carriers say it's a significant gap, tell me what it is.   And if they don't, citizens like myself will continue to push until we figure it out.  We have to figure out a way to do that.

Linda Stock: Many other cities have setbacks in their ordinance.  For instance, Hempstead requires 1,500 feet.  We're not advocating at this time 1,500 feet but this has been done successfully.  There is nothing that's illegal in the CTC recommendations that's illegal or prohibited by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  T-Mobile v. Cobb County says a city can take into account lower real estate values.  We all have cell phones, but the Ninth Circuit told us that to successfully sue a telecom must prove an outright or effective prohibition and gave us examples.  A carrier must meet the two-pronged test and must show a significant gap and that the proposed installation is the least intrusive means, and all of this is perfectly legal under Ninth Circuit Court law.

Jeri Berger: When Jaime Hall from CALWA said in 2007 they did a survey in Calabasas-- well, between 2007 and 2011 I would like to know how many cell towers have gone in, so that's not a very good comparison.  Our train is not going to change.  In order to close these gaps, we would have to have a cell tower in every corner, and we can't, and we won't.   So when they have a gap, they're going to have to define what that gap means, just like Linda says.  Mayor Grovemen made a lot of great suggestions, we would like to hold applicants liable and a penalty for false and misleading information, and be held liable and responsible, under penalty of perjury.  We must verify all submissions in order to assure accuracy and compliance and in order to impose these penalties.  There should be an independent expert.  I think Calabasas stands out differently than other cities, and I think we need to be considered in that way, also.

Ken Marker (?): When you poll most people, most people didn't want a cell tower a thousand feet within their back yard.  (He reviews studies that show effect of cell towers on real estate value of homes.  Doesn't like cell towers on school properties.)  Making taller towers farther away that are less intrusive.  1,500 foot notice: The more public that comes to hearings and meetings, that's what the city is for.  And I totally I think 1,500 feet is reasonable to give notice.  They shoiuld all have a right to speak, it's the American way.  Lastly: Having the cell companies regulate themselves and check their equipment is like having the tobacco indsutries regulate themeslves and saying cigarettes are safe.  Or possibly like having  Bernie Madoff give you a statement that you're money is safe.  Somebody has to regulate the companies, or they're going to step on you and do whatever they want.

At the end of the public hearing, the Planning Commission approved sending certain CTC recommendations onto the City Council for consideration and approval.  Read the Acorn April 21, 2011 article, excerpts here:


The planning commission examined 22 ideas for updating policies for wireless equipment that were proposed by the Calabasas Communications and Technology Commission, city staff and residents. The City Council will consider these recommendations at its April 27 meeting.

The commission and residents agreed on many issues but were still split concerning setbacks and where new cell towers should go...

Among other things, residents and officials agreed to have the Communications and Technology Commission conduct technical reviews of all wireless applications. They will also allow the commission to hire an outside specialist to help write the new ordinance and ensure that it offers maximum protections for citizens.

They also agreed that applications for new towers can’t be deemed complete until all submissions are verified and that no incentives should be given to applicants.

“The burden of proof should always rest on the applicant,” Samouhi said.

She added that before the city approves any applications it should require technical proof and scientific evidence to show that a significant gap in coverage exists, a position upheld by the 9th Circuit Court.

Concerning tower placement, residents speaking at the meeting said they were particularly concerned about a staff recommendation to allow new wireless facilities in prescreened residential zones and open space.

“The intent is to strengthen the ordinance, not weaken it,” Samouhi said.

With regard to distance between towers and sensitive areas, residents asked for a 1,500-squarefoot setback to make sure towers are away from homes, parks and schools.

Planning Chair Martha Fritz said setbacks shouldn’t be determined until the city receives a detailed analysis from an expert. The study will guarantee that local regulations will hold up in court should the city get sued and will be suitable for the area’s cell coverage needs and topography.

The commission did suggest that all residents living in a 1,500- foot radius of proposed towers should be notified by phone.

“We believe this is the most effective way of letting citizens know about an application and also lengthens the notification period by cutting out the mail delivery,” Fritz said.

Tamuri said a 1,500-squarefoot setback would prevent towers from being built in almost every part of the city.

Current land regulations forbid cell sites on all private property within residential and open spaces zones, which limits cell coverage in communities such as The Oaks and Mulholland Heights.

At previous meetings, city staff proposed offering incentives to wireless companies that agreed to build towers in locations suggested by the city, but the idea did not have the support of commissioners and residents.

“Many cities, like Glendale, offer incentives to promote sites away from sensitive areas. But if the goal is to require all providers to go through an onerous and rigorous process, then you can’t offer an incentive,” Tamuri said.

Source: Acorn, April 21, 2011, "Cell tower debate moves forward in Calabasas," on-line at: http://www.theacorn.com/news/2011-04-21/Community/Cell_tower_debate_moves_forward_in_Calabasas.html


January 25, 2011: City Council Public Hearing

The City Council of Calabasas is scheduled to have a public hearing about its updated wireless facility ordinance. 

See: Item 5, Unfinished Business, Recommendations from the Planning Commission regarding the wireless telecommunications facility ordinance update, in the City Council Agenda for Jan. 25, 2011, found on-line here: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/agendas/council.html


In reviewing what has happened since November 10th, from the residential perspective, here's a summary to date:

On November 10, 2010, the City Council of Calabassa directed its staff to use the CTC recommendations as the document to guide the Planning Commission in a workshop which they directed the staff with scheduling expeditiously.  

However, in the subsequent public hearings, residents were very upset that their local officials that the staff had held a string of private meetings with telecom industry representatives and lobbyists.   (They should have been allowed to attend these or given equal access and time.)  From these meetings, the recommendations of opening up residential and privately owned open space were presented by Staff.
 

The Citizens Review Association does not want Calabasas City Council to open these zones up for construction of wireless facilities that would weaken, not strengthen, the wireless ordinance and would strip them of existing protective regulations.  Thus, the Staff is presenting recommendations that do not reflect or address the concerns of the residents there, who are advocating for tougher wireless facility regulations to protect residents, schools and public parks,  and the most responsible, reasonable and safe deployment of technology within the City of Calabasas, like a growing number of residents in other communities across the state and nation are doing.



Background

On September 22, 2010, Calabasas Mayor Barry Groveman and City Council members decided to follow  in the footsteps of other communities by directing their commissioners to explore ways that they can tighten their wireless facility regulations. 
The City may even go one step further, as Mayor Barry Groveman expressed the desire for the City to "take the lead" on this issue.   Such action is at the urging of residents who submitted concerns and requests that the City can and should do more to protect residents and children from cell towers in residential areas and in public rights of way.

You can watch the Wed., Sept. 22, 2010, public hearing here: http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3017.  

During the opening Public Comments (when public can comment on ANY subject affecting the city), two 13-year-old residents shared their serious health concerns and opposition regarding the proposed T-Mobile cell tower that would be located on Las Virgenes Water District Property.  You can watch and listen to their effective presentations at: @ 36:56 and @ 44:23. 

Then click Item 18 on the left, under the video window, to advance to the public hearing on the status of the city's wireless regulations, including Public Comments specifically addressing this Item. 

Agenda, Staff Report, Exhibits and Correspondence for Item 18 can be viewed at: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/agendas/council.html


Details: At the public hearing, Mayor Groveman and City Council members listened to their City Attorney Michael Colantuono explain current laws and regulations, and the status of their wireless ordinance, which was recently updated last year.  The Mayor and City Council wanted to know if the City could make their city's regulations tighter, and they seemed genuinely concerned about wanting to update them and offer more protections for residents and children, and ways to protect and preserve their scenic views.  They also wanted to explore ways to set up areas in the city that would be attractive for the wireless industry to site their facilities, that could fit in with the City's Master Plan, while protecting the residents. 

During Public Comment on this item, residents
mentioned how other cities are adopting stronger regulations and so should Calabasas.  They provided input by pointing out examples of how, with current and past proposed cell tower projects, the current regulations were/are inadequate and were/are not behind adhered to, or fully enforced, including failure to make sure that an applicant truly has a significant gap in coverage, and that RF emissions estimates are accurate and sufficient. 

Resident Liat Samouhi, who submitted correspondence to the Mayor and City Council (which included excerpts from our Burbank ACTION website and resident packet), also pointed out how the City of Hempstead adopted a new ordinance requiring cell towers be 1,500 feet from homes and schools, and how the City of Glendale has a tiered approach.

Residents also brought up serious concerns about installations in public rights of way and want these proposed facilities to require public hearings before the planning commission, so they could be televised and open to public comment, instead of the current system of requiring an encroachment permit that is ruled on (in a public meeting) by the public works director.  One resident reported that the problem with the current system is that it's difficult for residents to attend proposed PROW installation meetings, because they are held in the afternoon, and are often canceled.  Another problem is the 10-day appeal process which does not give residents enough time to get their notice to respond to the appeal.

Other residents brought up serious health concerns and studies, the FCC's flawed regulations, and how Congressman Henry Waxman is talking about revising the FCC's regulations regarding health concerns after the upcoming elections.

The Mayor and Council members then agreed that they should direct staff and their communications and planning commissioners (at their next meetings) to address this issue and come back promptly to City Council with something "innovative," "aggressive," and "creative." 

As Mayor Groveman concluded, "This is a good issue, let's lead" and "We're going to protect Shangri-La" (residents and officials refer to their city as Shangri-la). 
Mayor pro Tem Dennis Washburn mentioned how San Francisco and other cities are taking action on this issue, and maybe there is a way of forming an alliance of cities to create change.

Helpful City Links

For current and upcoming City Council Agendas: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/agendas/council.html
    For archived Agendas and Minutes: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2
    Video: To view past meetings: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

For upcoming Technology & Communications meetings: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/agendas/communication.html
    For archived Agendas and Minutes: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=15
    Video: To view past meetings: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=15

For upcoming Planning Commission meetings: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/agendas/planning.html
    For achived Agendas and Minutes: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4
    Video: to view past meetings: http://calabasas.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4
 
  

To watch any meeting live, watch Calabasas TV: http://calabasas.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2
For City Website: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/


Media Reports

Local news stories (related) in Calabasas Patch:
News stories in The Acorn:

Related Developments Elsewhere

Also read about
resident campaigns updating wireless regulations in Oceanside, California, and Hempstead, NY, and feel free to download relevant documents and watch hearings to help you with your local campaign for wireless regulation revisions. 

In addition, learn and be very concerned about wireless installations in public rights of way because wireless companies are now installing their facilities on light poles and sidewalks in front and next to and behind your homes.  You need to make sure your city's updated regulations address these to protect your homes, schools and parks.

Keep yourself informed on how cumulative RF radiation effects will only be compounded by wireless smart meters that are now going to be installed on our homes unless opponents can find a way to fight them on health grounds, or privacy and civil rights grounds.  



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