The Town Council is set to weigh in Tuesday about a new Verizon Wireless cell tower proposed for eastern Danville that sparked several contentious public debates and ultimately an appeal of the Planning Commission's approval of the project.
The proposal calls for bringing a 60-foot-high pole designed as an imitation tree and associated equipment to a 1,000-square-foot leased area at 1455 Lawrence Road, with the tower sitting in an equipment shelter and surrounded by a six-foot-tall chain link fence with privacy slats.
Danville staff recommends the council deny the appeal filed on behalf of five residents and allow the project to move forward, according to town associate planner Crystal De Castro.
"Given the site location, the limited visibility from public view, alternative site analysis and radio frequency (RF) report, it is the town's opinion that there are no viable alternate locations for this facility which meet Verizon's coverage needs and objectives and that the proposed facility represents the least intrusive means of closing Verizon's gap in service," De Castro wrote in her staff report to the council.
The appellants argue that Verizon failed to adequately show the new cell tower is needed to fill a service gap, that the project would have significant aesthetic and noise impacts and that the commission's findings were legally inadequate, according to their attorney, Bryan W. Wenter of Miller, Starr and Regalia.
The Planning Commission voted 5-2 in September to approve the project's faux-tree concept, with a stipulation that nine new trees be planted on-site to help screen the tower.
The project site is a 1.83-acre property that contains a single-family home and Breton's School for Dogs and Cats. The site is near the Monterosso housing development and within a two-mile radius of Diablo Vista Middle School, Tassajara Learning Center and Creekside Elementary School.
The cell tower appeal is set to lead the council's open-session agenda Tuesday, scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.
In other business
* The council will consider accepting the town's audited comprehensive annual financial report for the 2014-15 budget year.
* Council members will hear liaison reports about the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce and the town's Planning Commission.
* They will also continue planning for the 34th annual Mayor's Installation and Community Service Awards program, set for Dec. 1 at the Village Theatre.
* Following the open meeting, the council will adjourn to closed session to conduct a performance evaluation of city attorney Robert Ewing.