Residents can share concerns about cell tower regulations at meeting

A yearslong debate centered around cellphone tower regulations in Burbank will continue this week with city officials hosting a community meeting Wednesday to hear from residents.

The meeting – which will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Buena Vista Library – will be focused solely on revising the city’s regulations for wireless telecommunications facilities in the public right-of-way.

The facilities are currently allowed in the public right-of-way as long as cellphone companies obtain an encroachment permit from the city’s public works director. In residential areas, the facilities aren’t allowed to be within one block of another.

City code also states that to build a new pole for a wireless device, an applicant must prove to city officials that it would be technologically infeasible to install the facility on an existing utility or light pole.

Even so, some Burbank residents would like to see stricter guidelines governing cell towers, particularly those being installed in front of homes.

“We’d like to keep them out of our neighborhoods, but we don’t have that control at this time,” said 15-year resident Michael Moynahan, a member of community group Save Burbank Neighborhoods.

The organization successfully campaigned against a proposed wireless facility on top of the Little White Chapel on North Avon Street.

“Maybe, at least, we can have some say in what goes up in front of our house,” he added

City code states the cell towers must have subdued colors and non-reflective materials, but Moynahan said he would like to see more rules on placement and aesthetics, such as requiring the devices to be smaller or covered by vegetation.

“At least if you’re going to put one in front of my house, move it over five feet so I can still look out my window and see my tree,” Moynahan said, adding that the structures in residential areas reduce property values and he’d rather see them underground.

A consultant hired by the city will also be present to address residents’ concerns within the context of federal and state laws, said Amanda Landry, associate planner.

“The community meeting is for residents to express what their specific concerns about the public right-of-way are to see what we can do to address those concerns,” Landry said.

For more information, call Landry at (818) 238-5250.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian,

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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