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December 1-2010 Burbank Community Meeting

Protect our families, children,

property values, aesthetics,
cherished neighborhood,
public safety
and quality of life!

We deserve to be safe and protected.  Burbank's wireless facility ordinance is being updated and YOUR input is needed. 

Would you like a cell tower on the sidewalk next to your home like this one? These are commercial facilities (no matter what they look like) that pose serious potential security, fire and public safety hazards and should be located away from our homes, schools, and parks, especially in high fire hazard areas like Burbank.

Our Mayor and City Council will vote on the proposed T-Mobile cell tower at Brace Canyon Park AFTER this update to our ordinance.  This means we need a tough ordinance to protect us NOW....just like Glendale and other cities approved earlier this year.

The City of Burbank is inviting residents to a Community Meeting to share suggestions on how we can make our wireless facility (cell tower) ordinance stronger.  This event is not a public hearing; it will not be televised or recorded. 

Date/Time: This Wed., Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.
Where: Police-Fire Building Community Room
Street: 200 N. Third Street (x-street: Orange Grove), Burbank 91503
Hosted by: City of Burbank Planning & Transportation Division

At the meeting, ask Assistant Planner Amanda Klotchzsche for our City to adopt regulations below, and that our City also take the lead and our elected representatives fulfill their promises made to us -- as our Mayor and City Council members told us they want to be able to protect our residents, schools and parks within the full extent of the law when they initiated the process of updating our wireless ordinance at last year's meeting (Dec. 8, 2009).

Ms. Klotzsche will do a short presentation on the city's efforts to update our wireless facility ordinance, then she and staff will interact informally with the attending public to write down our concerns that they want to address in the final wireless facility ordinance. 

FYI: According to peer-reviewed studies, residents living within 1,200-1,500 feet of cell towers report increased incidence of cancer, sleep problems, headaches, heart palpitations, ear ringing, and nervous disorders.  Cell tower level radiation exposure has also been associated with DNA damage and cell stress.  Children are at special risk because their smaller bodies absorb more radiation than adults. 

Due to outdated federal regulations, our city cannot deny a cell tower based on health concerns.  However, they can listen to these and other concerns to adopt regulations and requirements that protect against unnecessary wireless facility installations, and already have been reviewed by city attorneys and approved by other cities, including neighboring Glendale. 

So also share with city officials our other important concerns: commercial cell towers present potential fire and public safety hazards, crime, noise nuisance, and diminish our views, aesthetics, property values, and quality of life.   They will next be encroaching into our public rights of way (sidewalks and utility poles next to our homes).  We don't want our secure and cherished residential neighborhood to deteriorate into an antenna farm!

Burbank Residents Action Item: Please e-mail Ms. Klotzsche our "Top 20" Resident Recommendations below.  For your convenience, simply Cut and Paste the letter below; make sure to include your full name, residential address and Burbank zip code at the top.   Feel free to add additional comments, concerns and recommendations.

Send your e-mail to: aklotzsche@ci.burbank.ca.us

=============cut and paste e-mail letter below===========

o: Ms. Amanda Klotzsche, Assistant Planner, City of Burbank
From:   Insert your first and last name
Insert residential address
Burbank Zip Code:   Insert zip code
Re: Resident Recommendations and Concerns

Dear Ms. Klotzsche,

I am a resident of Burbank, and thank you for requesting our input.  I urge our City take the lead with developing our updated wireless facility ordinance, and that our elected representatives fulfill their intentions stated to us on Dec. 8, 2009, when our Mayor and City Council members told us that they want our city to update our wireless facility ordinance so that it protects our residents within the full extent of the law .

I am requesting that our City of Burbank adopt our "Top 20" recommendations below, as many of them have been proposed or  adopted by other communities that have recently updated or have already adopted new wireless facility ordinances, regulations and guidelines, including Glendale, Oceanside, Calabasas, Richmond, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, and Hempstead, NY. 

I recommend that our City:

Resident Recommendations

1. Adopt preferred and non-preferred zones to protect and preserve our homes, parks, schools (including daycare centers and pre-schools) and nursing and senior homes; require wireless facility applicants prove a significant gap in coverage and provide available alternative locations ("alternative site analysis") Glendale adopted these regulations in April 2010 – so should Burbank.  For example, we found out we already have good T-Mobile coverage in the hillside area, so we don’t need its cell tower here.  And once they put it up, they will just add more unsightly antenna and equipment; it will also set a terrible precedent for our residential neighborhoods.  We don't want needless antenna farms in our parks, schools, and residential neighborhoods. 

2. Keep commercial wireless facilities 1,500 feet away from homes, parks, schools, daycare centers and nursing homes. Officials in the town of Hempstead, NY, approved these distances in September – so should Burbank.  Town officials adopted this after residents were outraged to find commercial wireless facilities being installed on lights in front of their homes without being notified and having a public hearing. 

3. Require Conditional Use Permits for all commercial wireless facilities -- this includes those  proposed for our public right-of-way (also called PROW –i.e., our light and utility poles, sidewalks, alleys) near our homes, schools, parks, etc. This would require public hearings with the City Council or Planning Commission, and means of appeal.  T-Mobile has threatened to install their cell towers in the PROW in front of our homes, so we need CUPs to protect us. The County of Los Angeles now requires CUPs for PROW installations – so should Burbank.  What happens without this protection?  The City of Los Angeles currently lacks these types of protective regulations for PROW installations -- as a result, neighboring Sherman Oaks residents are outraged to find a T-Mobile installation in the sidewalk near their homes -- we don't want this kind of controversy, frustration, and anger to erupt in Burbank neighborhoods because our city also lacks these types of regulations.  Our City of Burbank can and should do better for its residents.

4. Mail public notices to affected school parents and legal guardians if a cell tower is proposed within 1,500 feet of a school. Residents in the City of Calabasas are proposing this – so should we.  In Burbank, a cell tower and additional equipment were approved next to David Starr Jordan Middle School, but no one notified the School District and school parents; let's update the ordinance so that schools and parents are now informed and kept in the loop.  This also encourages good community relations and open communications, and is the courteous and professional action to take.

Here are other important recommendations that we want and that other cities have adopted or are proposing:

5.  Deny T-Mobile and the Little White Chapel's application with the city to change our ordinance so that wireless facilities can be installed on private institutional (private church and school) properties in R-1 zones If such an application were approved, then a cell tower would be allowed at St. Francis Xavier school/church right next to Horace Mann Children's Center in our R-1 hillside residential community. In fact, T-Mobile reps in Nov. 2009 told hillside residents that St. Francis Xavier would be an alternative site to the Brace Canyon park location. This is not a solution or acceptable alternative location. 

6.  Require notices be sent 30-days in advance of public hearing.  Wireless facility applicants get months and sometimes years to develop their project -- it's only fair for residents to have at least 30 days to research the proposed project and prepare their comments for the public hearing.  This also allows residents sufficient time to prepare  in case they were out of town when the public notice was initially mailed to them.

7.  Require RF emissions estimations, including cumulative in sites where more than 1 wireless facility will be located (or co-location sites). Applicants would provide a report by an approved radio frequency expert estimating the cumulative radio frequency emissions and compliance with FCC OET Bulletin 65 that would result if the proposed facility is approved. 

8. Protect multi-residential zones in addition to the R-1 Single Residential zones.  Planning Board member Emily Gabel-Luddy recommended this at the Planning Board's July 26, 2010 meeting, and we agree.

9. Require commercial wireless providers and their reps applying for a permit provide a map of all their existing wireless facilities within the city.  The City should post two maps on its website -- a map of all wireless facilities within the city and and another map by carrier

10-.  Require applicants screen and underground equipment, and display Warning signs of radiation hazards, and post signage at the site listing the name of the owner and how to contact the owner and city in case of emergency

11.  Require applicants provide a 2-year and 5-year build out plan with a map of where they would like to install all of their wireless facilities within the city, to help our city officials, staff, and residents develop a master plan for where to appropriately and safely site them to protect and preserve the sensitive areas. 
This will help ensure  a more planned, integrated and organized approach to wireless telecommunications facility siting.

12.  Require the applicant update the facility to meet (conform to) the current ordinance (including aesthetic) requirements and standards when seeking to modify or add additional equipment onto an existing wireless facility.

13.  Require public hearings, community meetings and resident involvement and input whenever updating the city's wireless facility ordinance and regulations.

14. Require a “visual analysis” to assess the effects on views and aesthetics from  public areas and from private residences, and to address cumulative impacts of the proposed facility and other existing and foreseeable wireless  communications facilities, including foreseeable co-location facilities. The analysis may utilize simulations, field mock-up or other techniques. The analysis shall include feasible mitigations for any effects identified. If the proposed tower or structure is visible from a public right-of-way, then the applicant shall submit either a photo simulation of the proposed tower or structure from one or more locations along the public right-of-way, the locations of which shall be indicated on a map of suitable scale.

15. Encourage applicant locate at pre-existing wireless facility locations (i.e., encouraging co-location).

16. Require a written statement of the applicant's willingness to allow other carriers to co-locate on the proposed wireless telecommunications facility wherever technically and economically feasible and aesthetically desirable.

17. For public safety purposes, the City may reasonably require inspection of a tower (including all facilities attached to the tower) by a licensed structural engineer following significant storms, seismic events, or other events which may jeopardize the structural integrity of the towers (or the facilities attached to the towers).

18. Require RF emissions evaluation after installation of proposed wireless facility to ensure compliance with FCC. The provider of any wireless communications facility that was approved by the City before the effective date of this Section, shall submit within six (6) months from the date of notification, written certification that the facility is in compliance with the approved application, any required conditions of permit approval and applicable FCC radio-frequency requirements, to be reviewed by the City’s approved radio frequency expert. If the facility does not comply with the conditions of permit approval or applicable FCC requirements, the provider shall cease operation of the facility until the facility is brought intocompliance. In order to assure the objectivity of the analysis, the City may require, at the applicant's expense, independent verification of the results of the analysis.

19. Radiofrequency emissions evaluations filed by wireless service providers shall be retained by the City for a period of five (5) years and shall be available to the public upon request.

20. Noise at any time of the day or night from the proposed facility will not be greater than forty-five (45) dBA as measured at a distance three (3) feet from any residential building facade.

The recommendations above are made in response to wireless facility regulations and guidelines approved and proposed in other communities, as well as related recent developments and actions referred to above.  Please read these by following the links provided:

1.  Hempstead NY's new wireless facility ordinance, considered the strongest in the nation, approved Sept.21, 2010, developed in response to residents concerns after growing outrage finding installations on light poles in front of their homes without notification and public hearing: http://www.toh.li/content/home/news/telecomlaw.html

2.  Calabasas Communications & Technology Commission's proposed wireless facility recommendations dated Nov. 9, 2010, developed in response to resident concerns and Mayor and City Council's request: http://www.cityofcalabasas.com/pdf/agendas/council/2010/111010/item5-attachment.pdf

3. Oceanside, CA's updated ordinance, approved Oct. 20, 2010, to better protect residents and in response to residents concerns: http://www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/pdf/10-20-2010_SR_AGENDA_17.pdf

4. Los Angeles County Regional Planning Department wireless facility guidelines, approved memo, July 26, 2010; see page 3 regarding Conditional Use Permit required for public right of way installations: https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/los-angeles-co-regional-planning-guidelines-jul-26-2010

5.  Glendale, CA's wireless facility ordinance approved April 13, 2010, considered one of the strongest in our state to protect residents, developed after residents expressed outrage at T-Mobile cell tower project planned for the sidewalk in front of Glendale resident John McMahon's home: http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/gmc/Ordinance5692.pdf

6.  Richmond, CA's wireless communications facility Ordinance No.09-10 N.S., considered one of the stronger ones in the state, approved February 16, 2010: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/archives/66/Ord.%2009-10%20Wireless%20Communications%20Facilities-CONFORMED.pdf

7. Richmond, CA's, Conditional Use Permit for Wireless Communications Facility Application Submittal Checklist: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=6415

8.  Attorney Jonathan Kramer's "Generic Supplemental Application Form for Wireless Projects and Distributed Antenna System ("DAS") Projects", version 11-02-2010:  http://telecomlawfirm.com/articles/pdf/generic.sitingpreapp.20101102.pdf

9. Newspaper articles about Hempstead (NY) and Glendale (CA)'s wireless facility ordinance requirements, and Calabasas (CA)'s ordinance developments (scroll to the bottom of the page and print out Attachment): https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/december-1-2010-burbank-community-meeting/dec-1-2010-community-meeting-attachments

10. "Cell Tower Issue Reaching the Boiling Point: Open Letter to City Attorney" by Barbara Kohn and Christina Spitz, published in CityWatch LA, August 6, 2010, about the massive request from resident associations and neighborhood councils throughout Los Angeles City to the City Attorney asking for stronger wireless facility regulations to protect residents in light of recent court cases and other communities updating or adopting new wireless facility ordinances: http://citywatchla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3825

11. Sherman Oaks "Get The Cell Out" website re: massive resident outrage, anger and opposition to T-Mobile cell tower installed in November 2010 on a pole in public right of way (sidewalk in front of homes) without notifying residents throughout the neighborhood: www.getthecellout.com

12. San Francisco Board of Supervisors is developing the Public Rights of Way Wireless Facility ordinance (it will require a public hearing for PROW wireless facility installations); it's scheduled for a public hearing before the Land Use & Economic Development Committee on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. A draft of their new regulations can be found here (scroll to the bottom of the page and print out Attachment): https://sites.google.com/site/nocelltowerinourneighborhood/home/december-1-2010-burbank-community-meeting/dec-1-2010-community-meeting-attachments

=====================================end of letter=======================================

K Iwata,
Nov 27, 2010, 11:27 AM
K Iwata,
Nov 29, 2010, 2:28 PM