Wireless communication antennas — which have come under greater scrutiny from residents over their visual impacts — will face more review under proposed guidelines working their way through City Hall.
Under some of the proposed revisions to the city’s aging zoning laws for the telecommunication equipment, all new antennas would go before the Planning Board, and nearby residents would be notified in advance of the meeting.
Some residents have complained that the proliferation of wireless telecommunications antennas and other equipment are aesthetically unappealing and pull down property values.
Kiku Lani Iwata, a member of Burbank Against Cell Towers In Our Neighborhood, the group that mobilized against a proposed T-Mobile wireless antenna at Brace Canyon Park last year, called the noticing requirement “great news for the city of Burbank and its residents.”
But she said more needed to be included about limiting the number of antennas in the public rights of way “because those are installations that can happen on our sidewalks and utility poles and are creating a serious problem for residents across Los Angeles city right now.”
The city is expected to complete a comprehensive review of the wireless telecommunications facilities ordinance before the end of the year.
There are roughly 100 wireless communication facilities in Burbank, and Deputy City Planner Michael Forbes said the city receives two cellular equipment site applications each month.
The proposed amendments were included “so that the Planning Board would have the opportunity to review all new proposed facilities, as well as provide the public with the opportunity to review more information about proposed facilities,” said assistant city planner Amanda Klotzsche.
At a joint meeting last week of the City Council and Planning Board, Richard Roche, director of external affairs for AT&T, raised concerns about the proposed amendments to the ordinance, and requested continued input from industry representatives in drafting the new rules to avoid delays or interruption in coverage for Burbank residents.
Telecommunications companies have argued that the cell sites are an important part of meeting the demand of consumers who continue to ditch their land lines in favor of newer smart phones that require more data bandwidth.
T-Mobile, which operates 16 cell sites in Burbank, would continue to work with the city as they develop a “mutually acceptable” wireless ordinance, said company spokesman Rod De La Rosa.
The final analysis of changes to the 1996 ordinance will be completed before the end of the year, and officials said they plan to hold a meeting to gather public input sometime in November.