Costa Mesa Planning Commission to consider wireless infrastructure design regulations

Protesters at Costa Mesa council 10.1.19
Protesters gather outside Costa Mesa City Hall in October to oppose changes to design guidelines for wireless cell boxes to accommodate 5G technology.
(File Photo)

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission is set to finalize a resolution Monday recommending that the City Council review design plans for cell facilities in the public right of way.

The matter is closely followed by residents concerned with the rollout of 5G technology, which some feel could endanger public health because of the use of higher-frequency radio waves.

The resolution up for consideration — which details application requirements, review criteria and standard conditions — first appeared on the commission’s agenda Nov. 25 and was postponed to Dec. 9 to give staff additional time to review it.

In December, the Planning Commission again postponed voting on the resolution after receiving new information during public comment and in a letter from AT&T.


The AT&T letter suggested that some proposed regulations — such as requiring permits and other regulatory approvals — would violate standards set by the Federal Communications Commission. AT&T also recommended that the Planning Commission revise several rules, such as giving notice of installment to residents and requiring wireless providers to submit construction drawings.

Federal law prohibits local governments from regulating construction of wireless telecommunications facilities based on perceived health effects, but doesn’t bar review of small cell facilities’ aesthetics and locations.

During the meeting in December, Alison Burchette, a representative of the Costa Mesa Advocacy Group, contended that the city also can lawfully control administrative matters such as notification requirements, automatic time limits for permits and annual re-certification fees.

Monday’s commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.


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