(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.)
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.
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:
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
Martin L. Adams
Wendy M. James
Lynn C. Kronzek
Burbank Water and Power Board
Mail Address: P.O. Box 631, Burbank, CA 91503-0631