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Nov 16 and 17 Planning Board and City Council Meetings

(FYI, On December 8, 2009, the Planning Board and City Council will conduct a Joint-Study Session at City Hall at 4 p.m. regarding wireless facilities (cell phone towers and antennas), where they can ask technical questions to the California Wireless Association, and the association's reps can talk about the wireless industry's coverage needs. As a result, it was important to attend the Nov. 16 Planning Board meeting to express our concerns about this issue.)

Related Materials

Agenda: http://burbank.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=839
Scroll down to "Oral Communications" and "Reports. 4. Personal Wireless Facilities Study Session"

Watch Video and read Minutes.

Read staff Report

Nov. 16, 2009, Planning Board Meeting

When the Planning Board met on Nov. 16, 20009, during Open Public Comment time, residents:
1) informed board members about the proposed Brace Canyon wireless tower project, and shared our opposition to it because it's so near our homes and schools, and would negatively affect the property value of our homes.  We brought up the fact that the City of Glendale issued a moratorium on cell towers so it could study this issue and draft a new ordinance regarding them.  So we urged the Board to also have a Joint Study Session or opportunity for community and health expert input regarding wireless facilities, and not just input from the wireless industry.
2) suggested actions regarding the upcoming Dec. 8 Joint-Study Session, including reviewing recent court cases that favor local government's ability to prohibit cell towers in their community under certain circumstances, and reviewing the Bioinitiative Report with its recent findings on cell tower's adverse health effects, including increased risk of cancer and breast cancer.

In response, the planning department officers at this meeting told us:
1) That the Brace Canyon wireless project will not go before the Planning Board for review and approval, but would ultimately be a matter for the City Council because it is located on city property (owned by Burbank Water and Power). 
2) The public will not be able to ask any questions during the upcoming Joint Study Session.  However, after the study session, when City Council meets, it will have an Open Public Comment time during which the public can present its comments.  Council can respond to any comments or questions we pose to the Council. 

Then, Planning Board Members Vahe Hovanessian and Emily Gabel-Luddy tasked the planning department officers with a long list of materials and information they will need to prepare for the upcoming Joint Study Session, including finding out how many wireless facilities there are in the city and where are they, what do the various antenna and towers look like, information about their emissions and monitoring their emissions, a copy of the draft ordinance that the City of Glendale has recently made regarding wireless facilities, as well as copies of recent court cases involving cities that are trying to regulate wireless facilities in their community, and a copy of the Bioinitiative Report. 

Planning Boar Chair Kenneth San Miguel also asked the planning department if there has ever had an open town hall meeting regarding wireless facilities where they have invited input from the community and physicians and health experts.  The planning staff said no, an event like that would take more than 1 hour, and the Planning Board and City Council would have to request something like this at the Dec. 8 meeting. 

CONCLUSION: We thank the Planning Board members for having open ears to our concerns, and for being so diligent about the upcoming Joint Study Session on Dec. 8 regarding wireless facilities by asking for a long list of materials in preparation of the study session. 
  • If you have any questions you feel the Planning Board should ask of the wireless industry on Dec. 8, please e-mail or write the members in advance of the meeting so they can review your questions for possible presentation.  Their names and e-mail address are found on the "Write And Call Our City Leaders" link to the right.
  • We should also encourage the Planning Board to do as other communities across the country are doing, taking action by issuing moratoriums on cell tower installations or conducting more study sessions and town hall meetings, which will help them understand the long-term implications of the growing proliferation of cell towers on the community of Burbank, and draft a new ordinance regarding this technology so that cell towers are not located near or in our schools, parks and homes.

Related Materials

Agenda: http://burbank.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=840
Scroll down to Items P & Q: "Public Comment" and "City Council and Staff Response."

Watch Video and read Minutes
Nov. 17, 2009, City Council Meeting

At the Nov. 17, 2009, City Council meeting, Dr. David Gordon confirmed that any public comment about wireless facilities and their Joint-Study session on wireless facilities should be made at the Dec. 8 meeting during the City Council's Open Public Comment time, and any concerned neighbors and parents should attend to speak and share their concerns and questions then.  He also said they can write to the Council in advance of the meeting.

CONCLUSION: We need concerned residents, neighbors, friends, and family, and parents of our local schools to show up at the Dec. 8 meeting and:
  • Share our concerns about wireless towers in and near our neighborhoods, parks and schools
  • Tell them we oppose the proposed T-Mobile tower at Brace Canyon park and want them to, too
  • Tell them these antennas should be rejected on aesthetic reasons: we don't want fake pine trees in our beautiful neighborhood and park.  The City of Palos Verdes recently won a court case prohibiting cell towers based on aesthetics and so we should ban them too for the same reason.
  • Tell them studies show cell towers lower property values, and we home owners don't want the value of our homes to go down with them and they shouldn't want this for our community, either
  • Tell them we already have adequate coverage up here near Brace Canyon park so we don't need another antenna in our neighborhood, find another area to put it
  • Tell them the Los Angeles Unified School District and other cities across the country have passed resolutions opposing cell towers in and near their schools and so we don't want them in or near our schools, too, and neither does the Horace Mann Children's Center and the St. Francis Xavier school and church near the proposed Brace Canyon park tower, too.  There is already a tower next to Jordan Middle School, and more antennas were added onto it in June.  The School District and the parents weren't even notified about this.  We don't want this to continue, and we have to allow hearings inviting parent and public input.
  • IMPORTANT: Ask for an open town hall meeting regarding cell towers and antennas, so they can hear our input, and the input of health experts, too, not just input from the wireless industry like today's Joint-Study session, especially in light of recent actions by city governments and neighborhoods across the country opposing cell towers in and near homes, parks and schools.
  • Request a moratorium on cell tower installations like the City of Glendale has done, or hold more joint-study session on this issue, and draft a new ordinance regarding wireless facilities before our neighborhoods are over-run rampant with them.  There must be a better, safer, and healthier plan to work with our community when planning and safeguarding our future, and the future of our children.

By the way, we contacted Chief Facilities director Craig Jellison of the Burbank Unified School District.  His office was not notified about the proposed Brace Canyon cell tower project near Horace Mann Children's Center. It was also not notified about the cell tower and its addition of more antennas near Jordan Middle School.  The City needs to change its policies so that schools and parents are notified and allowed to give their input. 

We also contacted some of the Burbank Water and Power Board members, and not all of them had known or been previously informed about the proposed Brace Canyon cell tower project.  They will be meeting Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009.  Please write now to the BWP board members, before they meet, and urge them NOT to support the proposed cell tower at Brace Canyon park on their property, it's not in their and our community's best interest, the department should not start putting cell towers on properties that are near our homes and schools and parks, this is not serving the public and their customers, and makes the Burbank Water and Power look bad (it tarnishes their green and clean image).  We're all about them supporting fiber optics, but not wireless towers in and near our homes, parks and schools.

Lee Dunayer, Chair
Robert Olson, Vice Chair
Thomas Jamentz
Martin L. Adams
Rod Kurihara
Wendy M. James
Lynn C. Kronzek
Burbank Water and Power Board
Mail Address: P.O. Box 631, Burbank, CA 91503-0631