Danville council to debate appeal over cell facility installation in residential area

Group claims more suitable spot exists; town staff recommends denial of appeal

A group of Danville residents continues to fight the implementation of wireless cellular facilities near residential areas, and the Town Council on Tuesday is set to weigh the group's appeal against the town contesting the placement of one on Camino Tassajara.

A land-use permit for the cell facility -- owned by Verizon Wireless -- was approved by the Danville Planning Commission at its regular meeting on Oct. 23. The installation's approval came over the objections of residents from the Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth (DCRG), who on Nov. 2 filed an appeal challenging the decision.

The small cell facility, proposed to sit on property approximately 225 feet east of Gatetree Drive, consists of the placement of panel antennas contained within a four-foot-tall radome on top of a six-foot extension of the pole and the mounting of related equipment on the lower portion of the pole.

The appeal letter -- submitted by Anita Taff-Rice on behalf of the Danville resident group -- makes a number of claims as to why the facility should be relocated.

“To be clear, DCRG is not attempting to prevent the installation of Verizon’s wireless facility," Taff-Rice wrote. "Rather, it seeks to ensure that the ultimate location takes into account the entire record, strictly follows the requirements of the wireless ordinance and by balancing the interests of increased communications capacity with the least impact to the general welfare of residents as required by (California).”

The main claims listed in the appeal include the facility will decrease the neighborhoods property value, there is no evidence of coverage gaps for Verizon, more suitable locations are available and the Planning Commission did not take enough time to consider the facilities aesthetics. They further allege the town violated due process by not adequately informing the community of the facilities proposed installation.

In a town staff report, Danville’s principal planner David Crompton counters these claims in turn and recommends that the council deny the appeal.

Crompton’s main point boils down to the fact that, due to federal regulations, local jurisdictions such as Danville cannot prohibit proposed facilities that limit providers from delivering service.

“The discretionary review authority that local jurisdictions have over the deployment of wireless communication facilities, especially in the public right-of-way, is largely preempted by federal and state law. The town’s authority is currently limited to aesthetic considerations such as consistency with any established local standards and design guidelines,” he wrote.

Crompton further wrote that “there is no evidence in the record that cell facilities have diminished land values in Danville.”

As for the accusations of a due process violation, Crompton said the town has fulfilled its requirements for public outreach. He stated that the town has adequately alerted the neighborhood to the installation of the facility, it has held a series of public hearings that were noticed as required by law and these meetings were also discussed in the media.

Previously, neighboring residents have shown concern over perceived potential health risks that could result from the radio frequencies emitted so close to residential neighborhoods. Local jurisdictions have their hands tied by the FCC, however, who ban local regulations based on health concerns -- which they say fall under federal jurisdiction.

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

The Town Council will meet to discuss the appeal at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

In other business

The council will discuss the creation of a Senior Advisory Commission to help advocate for Danville’s elderly population.

The five-person commission will be tasked with advising the council on issues that affect senior citizens living in Danville and help town officials establish age-friendly policies.

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20 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2019 at 7:28 am

This is a local government boondoggle. These 5 G cell towers will have to be 500 feet apart to provide the service. Add up all the carriers as they all have to have their own transmission towers and you will have them everywhere in residential neighborhoods. There is ample evidence that they are harmful, maybe that why you will not find them anymore on Fire Stations as the firefighters lobby got them banned as firemen were experiencing fatigue, headaches etc, but of course government will have you believe they are harmless, until they harm the brains of young children living under an around these towers. Read up on the difference between the newest transmission microwave band known as 5 G and make your own decision. Come to the town hall meeting and get involved. Government and big business count on citizen apathy to do what they will with your health.

8 people like this
Posted by Timothy P.
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Here are some facts to consider. Without infrastructure improvements to the cellular/wireless network like this, we soon will have even more dropped calls and delays in Danville. This is not 5G, which will also be vital to our future economy, smart cities and jobs when it comes. This is, in fact, the same cellular wireless we all use every day. 99% of people walking by won’t ever notice the addition to an existing telephone pole. I’ve had one behind my own house for 10 years and never even noticed it until I heard about this item on the Town Council agenda. These installations are certified as safe by the city, state and federal government – not to mention international health organizations. I work at a company that does in-home monitoring of individuals through remote medical devices. This is a field that will continue to grow as our population ages. Wireless use doubles (think heart and other health monitors) every year, so more small antennas are needed for today as well as future coverage gaps. People’s lives are at stake unless we add this and other small cell antennas, because our police and fire rely on wireless in emergencies. If you call for an ambulance, don’t you want your cell phone to work?

8 people like this
Posted by Danville taxpayer
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:58 pm

I cannot trust Verizon after they throttled the fire department’s “unlimited” data during Calif. wildfire. The Fire dep't had to pay twice as much to lift throttling during the wildfire response.

"In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds," Bowden wrote. "These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262's ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes."

Verizon did not immediately restore full speeds to the device, however.

"Verizon representatives confirmed the throttling, but rather than restoring us to an essential data transfer speed, they indicated that County Fire would have to switch to a new data plan at more than twice the cost, and they would only remove throttling after we contacted the Department that handles billing and switched to the new data plan," Bowden wrote.

Verizon “risking harm to public safety” Web Link

7 people like this
Posted by Telecommunications Consultant
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:03 pm

5G is NOT the same wireless we use everyday. These are two different wireless technologies, hidden under the guise of a common naming convention – 4G vs 5G. Of note, the FCC ruling is for “small cells” – a nifty head-fake by Verizon perhaps. Initially, that meant “small infill towers” (repeaters) for 4G systems, to close gaps in the 4G networks. I do not know when that was usurped to also describe 5G systems, but that might be worth looking at. Someone is trying to put lipstick on a pig.

Two, this Verizon statement is absolutely false and even misleading – “Verizon claims that installing new small cell antennas will enhance wireless service for emergency personnel in the vicinity.” To make this even begin to be true, our emergency service providers will have to buy all new 5G devices – radios, cell phones, etc. Yet – you can’t BUY any 5G devices yet – they are not on the market. And, in fact, Calif OES recommends the Motorola P25 radio system for this kind of emergency services. Don’t know if Danville subscribes to that or not.

Web Link

So, if Danville fire or police DID convert to 5G, they would risk NOT being interoperable with the rest of Cal emergency responders in case of a big earthquake or fire. So, 5G could actually be a dangerous thing for our emergency service providers to adopt until Cal OES and other local “mutual aid” agencies adopt it too. An “island of 5G” is a lonely place to be stuck when a wildfire is threatening the town.

OF NOTE – the throttling issue cited in that CalFire report was caused by Verizon and its billing practices, not by any limitation of the 4G network. It was a Verizon business practice, not a technology issue. Verizon should be RAKED OVER THE COALs for doing this in the middle of a crisis. US Government networks operate under a protocol called MLPP – Multilevel Precedence & Preemption Priority. Emergency Responders and government officials (mayors, governors, FEMA etc.) are also given the highest priority to use all available bandwith over other users.

Web Link

With the limited “reach” of a 5G signal, I do not see any real use for it in a first responder environment unless the entire community – border to border – is blanketed with 5G cells. And then, all those folks will be living in permanent “sunshine” – 24/7/265 constant radiation exposure! The name of each town should become “Tumorville, USA”.

This issue will not go away but we can slow it down to get some sense of health risks. Strategically, it’s a race between the common carriers (ATT & Verizon, etc.) to beat other “small satellite” system providers (SpaceX, etc.) to the neighborhood community Internet of Things market: Web Link

This entire façade of human-to-human cell phone calling has nothing to do with this strategic 5G business issue (business-to-human). In the neighborhood, IOT is all about “smart homes” that have remotely connected devices that are being monitored (such as PGE smart meters). Basically, 5G is about allowing EVERYONE (Google, Honeywell, Apple, etc.) to peer into your home and provide “services” to manage that house (such as security alarms like ADT).”

7 people like this
Posted by Senior Resident
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:09 pm

Regarding heart and other health monitors, referring to the earlier comment, these are the individuals (like me) who are MOST likely to become ill from 5G radiation. Those monitors absorb RF-EMF at a greater rate than people without implants or monitors. So not only will the radiation absorb into the skin and eyes, anyone with an implant will be exponentially affected at a much greater absorption rate.

3 people like this
Posted by Joannie
a resident of Danville
on Feb 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Why is everyone talking about 5G?

The item before the Council tonight is about a small cell antenna - not a large tower. It's about plugging gaps in existing service.

The conversation on 5G is way out in the future when innovators talk about "smart cities" and innovative things like use of new technology for traffic relief, to control irrigation in public parks, location monitoring, and things that are years and years away. It's not relevant to what's going on tonight.

I wish everyone could keep their eye on the issue up for debate and stop trying to scare people. Tonight's conversation should be limited to the one installation and the item that's actually on the agenda, not all this stuff. If you take the time to read the report, the installation has been approved by the Town Planning Commission and its staff, who have done a lot of work on this subject. Danville is one of the best run towns in California and a great place to live!

6 people like this
Posted by MO
a resident of Danville
on Feb 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Everyone who thinks 5G microwave radiation is completely safe, please feel free to have this equipment installed in front of your house. Effects of 5G have not been studied on humans, so you will be the lab rats for this technology. Actual lab rats showed male infertility in a study out of Iran. In real life, residents in Gateshead, UK, had increased miscarriages & stillbirths. The ISDE, International Society of Doctors for the Environment, in Europe have called for a moratorium on the deployment of 5G in the
EU. Do your own research, but remember all the things in the past we were told that were safe: cigarettes, Thalidomide, Roundup...It’s all about the money. Will you sacrifice your health for better cell service?!

Like this comment
Posted by MS Venezia
a resident of Danville
on Feb 7, 2019 at 6:39 am

The microwave frequency power necessary to connect to a cell tower that is emitted by your personal cell phone while held up to your ear is stronger than any signal emitted from a random tower located within your neighborhood. If anyone is concerned about a tower, you should never use a hand-held cell phone for the same reasons you are supposedly concerned about.

6 people like this
Posted by Dr. Gunderson, MD, PhD
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:26 pm

The EMF Safety Network helped Sebastopol resist Verizon's attempts to deploy massive numbers of small cell towers. The contents of their letter are summarized below.
Web Link

This application would begin to lay the groundwork for 5G, which requires a dense network of cell towers. The proposed towers would add unsightly equipment, overload poles, devalue property, and increase radio frequency radiation (RFR) in our neighborhoods. Peer-reviewed published science shows RFR can cause a wide range of health problems: sleep problems, heart arrhythmias, anxiety, headaches, ringing in the ears, cancer and more. Peer-reviewed published science shows RFR is harmful to the environment. Children, the elderly, and those already ill are more vulnerable.

EMF Safety Network requests the Planning Commission deny Verizon’s application and uphold Sebastopol’s General Plan, Community Health and Wellness Goals, to minimize community exposure to unsafe EMF radiation. We support the city to prioritize wired over wireless for the health, safety, and welfare of our community.

There are many LEGAL reasons a California city can deny “small cell” towers in he public rights-of-way. In general, cities still have some control over cell towers, including visual impacts and aesthetics, lack of a significant coverage gap, public utilities code protections, land use, and process rights. “Small cell” is a junkyard on a pole. “Small cell” towers are not small, they are many feet taller than other telephone poles and loaded with electrical equipment. Overloading poles can cause a tower to fall or spark a fire like what happened in Malibu in 2007. “The poles were jointly owned by SoCal Edison, AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and NextG Networks of California.”

Loss of property value: Home or business owners risk property value loss where a cell tower is installed in the neighborhood. A survey by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy found that 94 percent of homebuyers are “less interested and would pay less” for a property located near a cell tower or antenna.
Public Utilities Code Section 7901 provides that use of the roads by telephone companies cannot “incommode the public use of the road…” The phrase “incommode the public use” in Section 7901 means “to unreasonably subject the public use to inconvenience or discomfort; to unreasonably trouble, annoy, molest, embarrass, inconvenience; to unreasonably hinder, impede, or obstruct the public use.” If ever there was a situation that caused discomfort, or unreasonably troubled residents, it is the case of cell towers near homes. Cell towers emit RFR and peer-reviewed published science shows RFR harms public health and the environment. The
International Agency for Research on Cancer at the World Health Organization classifies RFR as a 2B (possible) carcinogen.

Why we cannot rely on the Federal Communications Commission: FCC proceedings 13-84
and 03-137 were initiated to determine whether their RFR exposure limits and policies created in 1996 need to be reassessed. These proceedings which were filed in 2013 remain incomplete. The federal government has taken sole responsibility for the radiation safety of personal wireless service deployment , however, no federal agency is acting responsibly, or being accountable for protecting the public and the environment from the health effects of RFR. The science has evolved greatly since 1996 meanwhile wireless devices have been widely adopted, as well as
forced upon the public, for example: cell towers, wireless in schools, and smart meters.

Now, I invite "Joannie" and "MS Venezia" to go stand in front of a microwave, on high power, with the door open, 24/7/365. THAT is what we are talking about here.

3 people like this
Posted by Stand Up
a resident of Danville
on Feb 12, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Verizon is bulldozing over our town. They are making plans for 5G here very soon and admitted this at town meetings. Their tactics are relentless -throttling data on first responders is despicable and now they say we need these for first responders?? How can we trust anything they say....They will stop at nothing and as mentioned in a recent article in the MarinIJ, they paid people off to speak in favor of these towers.
We have to STAND UP, otherwise these will be outside of houses, schools, churches, daycares etc. They already have applications in Danville for new towers outside of two schools and a daycare facility. Even if they start as 4G, once they have them in, they can easily convert to 5G.
Other Bay Cities are fighting to protect their towns and citizens and it’s now with the 9th circuit court of appeals. Many towns have put stringent ordinances in place to prevent these anywhere near homes, schools etc. We need to insist our town do the same to protect all of us and say NO to Verizon!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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