Cell tower application all but dead in downtown BC
by Peter Burke
Dec 12, 2013 | 1234 views | 4 4 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite protests from Boulder Creek residents asking the County of Santa Cruz Zoning Administrator to completely kill the project, Verizon Wireless was given the opportunity to revamp its plan to build a 50-foot cellular tower in downtown Boulder Creek.

The issue has been hotly contested for six months, resulting in four public hearings without a final decision from the zoning administration, which approves building projects in the county.

Verizon originally submitted a permit to build a 50-foot cell phone tower disguised as a pine tree on a parcel on Highway 236 in downtown Boulder Creek in early 2013. However, a steadfast group of local residents have been against the size of the tower at that location, citing the tower as an eyesore in the historic downtown and the potential for harmful radio waves at a close proximity to homes and businesses.

The tower, according to Verizon contractor Aaron DeLao, would provide increased cell phone service to the north end of the valley, including service in a dead zone that currently exists between Brookdale and Boulder Creek. DeLao said another tower in the area is at full capacity, leading to the need for an additional tower in Boulder Creek.

At the Friday, Nov. 15 meeting, Zoning Administrator Wanda Williams listened to more than 15 comments from residents, all against the project, before sending Verizon back to the drawing board by pulling the application from the agenda.

“This is not going to fly at this location,” Williams said near the end of the hearing.

Williams told DeLao that he must change the size of the tower or look of the tower significantly — perhaps disguising it as a redwood tree, rather than a pine tree as described. If he came back with a similar design, she would be forced to deny it.

As an alternative DeLao said Verizon is looking at distributed-area system that would use five smaller towers at various locations along public right-of-way, rather than a single large tower. If Verizon finds the 5-tower distributed-area system will not work, then Verizon may revamp the application to build a tower at the original parcel on Highway 236. The new proposal will require a new public meeting with the zoning administrator, according to Williams.

Santa Cruz County planner Frank Barron who processed the application from Verizon, said the 50-foot antenna does not exceed Federal Communications Commission emissions standards, however several residents spoke against this claim during the meeting.

For more information, visit the County of Santa Cruz Zoning Administrator Agenda from November 15.

Comments
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Rabbit Rooster
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December 16, 2013
Lets put five towers up on Rebecca an fry S.L.V Water Company Lawrence Prather's bacon. NExt his XBOX option can pay his latenite gas campus on swamp.

ClaudiaS
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December 16, 2013
Get a job Rachel, seriously.
Fred44
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December 15, 2013
Worried about fantasies about RF dangers when there is the very real danger of a car crash in the dead zones. Rapid response saves lives, medivac vs. coroners van. Seriously lets deal with reality.
Rachel Wooster
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December 14, 2013
It should be noted that Aaron DeLao is a contractor for Verizon, he is not a Verizon employee. Also his job is to find locations for cell towers, he is more like a real estate person then anything else. His comments at the last hearing regarding the increased cell phone coverage contradicts the comments made by Verizon's engineer at the first hearing on 7/19/2013.

As a contractor if this application or the alternative application goes through Aaron DeLao makes money on the deal. So he has a very vested interest in seeing that the deal goes through.


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