News

Danville commission considering new rules for small cell towers

Staff: Balancing wireless needs and town’s ‘unique visual character’

The Danville Planning Commission will discuss amending the town’s wireless communication facilities ordinance Tuesday night.

The proposed changes would update definitions and regulatory processes in the current town ordinance. Most notably, the updates deal with small cell facilities, which are used by the wireless industry to eliminate gaps in service coverage and are often placed on fixtures within the public right of way, such as on utility poles, traffic signals or street lights.

“In an effort to balance the needs of the wireless facilities, while preserving and protecting the town’s unique visual character, the town has prepared an updated ordinance to codify federal and state legislation and to provide for development standards and a streamlined review for small cell facilities,” associate planner Crystal De Castro wrote in a staff report.

If commissioners support the updates, the amendment would then go to the council for approval.

Right now, cell providers are planning to implement dozens of these small cell sites within the town, according to staff.

Under the current town ordinance, most facility proposals are subject to review and approval by commissioners, including public notification of residents who live within 750 feet of the proposed facilities.

The ordinance update on the table, however, would exempt small cells from land use permit and the associated submittal requirements.

The facilities would still be subject to building permit and encroachment permit requirements, though, and aesthetics still taken into consideration – to minimize the “visual prominence” of antennas and equipment, staff says.

“The town has actively engaged wireless carrier representatives regarding the ordinance updates and to convey the town’s continued objective of avoiding visually intrusive facilities for all cell sites, including small cell facilities,” De Castro wrote.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front Street.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Rob Haskins
a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

All the [portion removed] whiniing by local neighbors is a joke, they need to purchase a life. Handheld devices that have adequate signal strength are a must. Can they survive a day without looking at their phones every other minute?

Danville does an excellent job with Tower esthetics, let the small cells thrive...


Like this comment
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Rob: I think there is a part of this picture you have not considered: those who have shed (or never had) landlines. They depend on their cells for ALL calls. Something to chew on, at least....


2 people like this
Posted by A. G. Bell
a resident of Danville
on Apr 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

A. G. Bell is a registered user.

These unobtrusive new towers are also necessary for the next generation of connectivity, e.g., allowing cars - who rarely suffer from road rage - to communicate with each other, to avoid collisions and other anti-social behavior.


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