The San Ramon Planning Commission is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss updating the city’s policies regulating small cell wireless facilities in order to comply with recent changes to federal and state law concerning the installation of such equipment.
The commission will review, and potentially recommend to the City Council, a variety of installation guidelines for small wireless facilities that include application requirements, pole license agreement, automatic conditions of approval, location preferences and design standards as well as the appeals process.
“Because small cell wireless technology is relatively new, the city’s existing wireless ordinance (Division D4, Chapter IV) does not explicitly address small wireless facilities. The City Council has therefore amended section D4- 42.D of the San Ramon Zoning Code to recognize small wireless facilities and regulate those facilities by adopting a City Council policy overseeing the permitting of these facilities,” city attorney Martin Lysons wrote in a staff report.
Regulations from the Federal Communications Commission do offer some financial respite for the installation of small facilities. According to Lysons, the FCC states small wireless providers are required to pay an annual license fee of $270 per site for use the city’s infrastructure
After review of the policies, the commission will make a series of recommendations for the City Council’s consideration at a future meeting.
A hot-button issue for many in San Ramon -- and many others throughout the Tri-Valley -- the installation of cell facilities in residential areas has brought concerns to residents who fear perceived health risks associated with the radio frequencies emitted from the facilities.
Regardless of whether city officials believe these fears or not, according to FCC regulations, a city can not consider potential health risks when regulating the placement of these facilities.
The San Ramon Planning Commission is set to discuss the city’s wireless facility policies during its regular meeting Tuesday 7 p.m., at San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road, inside of the council chambers.