Verizon postpones request for new wireless tower on Camino Tassajara

Danville Planning Commission cancels Tuesday meeting discussing facility

Danville's Planning Commission has canceled its meeting for Tuesday regarding a land-use permit requested by Verizon Wireless for a wireless facility on Camino Tassajara, after the cell company requested a postponement.

Verizon originally requested a land-use permit for the installation of a wireless communication box on a public utility pole along the north side of Camino Tassajara approximately 225 feet east of Gatetree Drive. The box would have consisted of four-foot-tall panel antennas on the top of the pole accompanied by related equipment mounted on the lower end.

The Tuesday meeting was canceled by the town after Verizon requested a continuance. As of Friday the company has not re-submitted its application to the Danville calendar, according to town staff, so for the moment the project has been canceled indefinitely.

Some residents such as Nick Vasallo, whose family lives adjacent to the proposed Verizon site, are concerned about potential health issues from prolonged exposure to radio waves.

“It bothers me that our ‘current’ laws only dictate the aesthetic effects rather than health risks that these towers have,” Vasallo said. “Our home appliance wireless devices function at a fraction of the energy that a tower functions at. So comparing laptop, TV, and cell phone use to a cell tower is like comparing a drink of Kombucha to moonshine.”

This is coming off the council's unanimous decision at its July 17 meeting to move forward with an ordinance to standardize design guidelines and location preferences for wireless communication facilities.

Guidelines are primarily concerned with the town’s aesthetics and dictate that facilities be established in areas that are not downtown, that are at least 250 feet away from residences, that are in major arterial roadways, and that will be merged with or replace existing infrastructure in the public right of way.

Guidelines can be appealed by companies in certain cases, but the town has the authority to deny providers a land-use permit if requirements are not properly met.

State and local government agencies have very limited authority over the regulation of cell tower placement, due to the Federal Communications Commission having the majority of responsibility over these facilities, according to FCC regulations.

The FCC maintains that it is very unlikely that a person can be exposed to radio frequency levels in excess of their guidelines.

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