City of Burbank holds informational meeting about Burbank’s wireless facility ordinance

4 May

The City of Burbank has scheduled an informational Community Meeting about the city’s regulations concerning wireless telecommunications facilities (WTF or cell phone antenna and towers) for Monday, May 7, at 6p.m.

If you have questions about the city’s WTF ordinance that was updated last year, feel free to attend and ask questions of the City’s planning department, which is hosting this event. Here is more info on this event:

Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Community Information Meeting

Date and Time: Monday, May 7, 2012, at 6 p.m.

Location: City of Burbank Community Services Building, First Floor Community Room, 150 N. Third St., Burbank, California 91502

Event Info: Burbank’s city planners will be hosting a community meeting to provide information about the regulations for wireless telecommunications facilities (cell phone antennas and towers).

The City Council approved a major update to Burbank’s wireless facility regulations in 2011. The purpose of the update was to make sure that Burbank’s regulations are consistent with federal law and recent court rulings and to ensure that the City has the ability to regulate the aesthetics and appearance of the facilities.

Since the update was adopted, the City Council and staff have received questions from the community about wireless facilities and the City’s ability to regulate them. The Burbank City Council requested that this informational meeting be held to let interested members of the community know about Burbank’s regulations and about the limitations in federal law that prevent Burbank from regulating wireless facilities based on concerns about the health effects of radio frequency emissions.

For more information, please contact Michael Forbes in the Planning and Transportation Division.

The Planning Staff can also inform you on how the Telecommunications Act of 1996 adopted by Congress limits local governments from denying WTFs due to health concerns.

That means that a local government can NOT deny a cell tower based on health concerns (unless the WTF exceeds the FCC RF public exposure guidelines).  It CAN,  however, deny a cell tower if there is “substantial evidence” including: conflicts with aesthetics and local zoning requirements and regulations, if there is NOT a significant gap in coverage specifically for the cell phone provider applying for the permit, and if there exists an available, alternative and less intrusive location to install the proposed WTF that would fill a significant gap in coverage.

In addition, a proposed project on property that would be leased by a school or local government can be denied if placement of the WTF are seen as a propietary function and not a government function (read the rationale stated last month by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners).  Go to our companion Burbank ACTION website to read more about the reasons why a local government can  and cannot deny a proposed WTF. Also , prior to attending the community meeting, read up more about cell towers and what local governments and residents can do on the CLOUTNOW.org website.

This TCA of 1996’s  health limitation is seriously flawed and outdated, especially in light of growing studies about the harmful health effects from chronic wireless RF radiation exposure, so if you haven’t already, sign the Petition on the website of CLOUTNOW that asks Congress to repeal these limitations.

The MAJOR FLAW with our city’s wireless facility ordinance is that, due to a request by T-Mobile that wanted to install a WTF at the Little White Chapel in Burbank, the ordinance was changed last summer to allow proposed wireless facilities on private institutions (private schools and churches) in R-1 zones.  A commercial facility is still a commercial facility, even if it is hidden — and thus changes the character of the neighborhood and quality of life.  A non-residential business like a private church or school in an R-1 zone should not be allowed to profit from a wireless facility lease while harming and lowering the property values of the residents surrounding it.  This is totally unfair to the residents who live there 24/7.

We had warned our Planning Board members and City Council members (and Planning Staff) that such an ordinance change could divide a community, pitting residents against a church, and city staffers.  However, most of the Planning Board and City Council Members saw no problem in approving this change.  And so they should not be surprised that residents are now upset about the proposed T-Mobile cell tower that will be located on the top of the Little White Chapel located at 1711 Avon Street in Burbank. This project would be located in an R-1 zone surrounded by single family homes, and near Bret Harte Elementary School and Luther Burbank Middle School.

So mark your calendar and make sure you attend the Burbank City Council Meeting on Tuesday May 22, 2012, when there will be hearing on the appeal of this proposed project that was approved by the Planning Board.   You attendance and show of support will not just protect their neighborhood, but your neighborhood and property values as well.

Go to the Save Burbank Neighborhood website for more info, including how to join their efforts to protect your homes, children, schools and neighborhood!

(FYI, because a smart meter is not considered a WTF, a city is not prohibited from regulating or opposing or banning smart meters due to health concerns.  Smart Meters are not under the jurisdiction of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.)

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One Response to “City of Burbank holds informational meeting about Burbank’s wireless facility ordinance”

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