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MINUTES OF THE
PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING

 September 3, 2013

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Wallis at 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.

ROLL CALL

Present:  Commissioners; Sachs, Viers, Vice Chair Benedetti, Chair Wallis

Absent:   Planning Commission Donna Kerger             

Staff: Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager; Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner; Bob Saxe, Interim City Attorney; Luisa Amerigo Recording Secretary

Audience:    5

1.  CALL TO ORDER                    

2.  ROLL CALL

3.  PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     

4PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: At this time, those in the audience are encouraged to address the Planning Commission on any item not already included in tonight’s agenda.  If possible, comments should not exceed five (5) minutes.

Robert Klinger representing Northwest Neighborhoods is an organization that communicates and shares among other neighbors about different events within the City. Mr. Klinger added that he has concerns about the Faria Preserve project review process that should be kept the same and not change.

5. ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS

6. CONSENT CALENDAR

6.1 Minutes from the July 16, 2013 Special meeting.

Commission Sachs made the motion and seconded by Commissioner Viers.
Vice Chair Benedetti abstained.        

6.2 Minutes from the August 6, 2013 meeting.  

Commissioner Sachs made the motion and seconded by Vice Chair Benedetti.
Chair Wallis abstained.

7.   CONTINUED ITEMS AFTER CLOSING OF PUBLIC HEARING –None-            

8.   CONTINUED ITEMS – OPEN PUBLIC HEARING  - None -

9.    PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEMS
9.1 9885 Alcosta Boulevard (LUP 13-500-005) AT&T Wireless Telecommunications Facility Expansion.  Staff Report by: Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner gave a brief PowerPoint presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting review of a Land Use Permit  to modify an existing wireless telecommunications facility co-located with two other wireless telecommunication facilities on an existing PG&E transmission tower.  The proposal would install three (3) new LTE antennas, relocate six (6) existing panel antennas, install six (6) Remote Radio Units, and install one (1) surge suppression unit. The existing equipment enclosure would remain unchanged in size.

Commissioner Sachs asked what the current balance was in the PG&E Landscape Fund.  Mr. Driscoll replied he is not sure and would provide the information at the next meeting.

Vice Chair Benedetti commented that the definition of an Antenna Farm is used to describe the negative visual impact associated with the placement of a number of antenna facilities in close proximity to each other and asked Mr. Driscoll if staff had a definition of close proximity. Mr. Driscoll replied no.

Commissioner Benedetti added that we are fortunate to have these towers while other communities without PG&E towers would have separate monopole locations with limited co-location opportunities for multiple carriers.

If we had antennas on different towers in close proximity would the radio frequency analysis on antennas be done in close proximity of each other. Mr. Driscoll replied that we have always looked at it as each tower.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager stated if there were individual monopoles close to each other then we would consider that and look at the RFE (Radio Frequency Emissions) because, while they are separated there is still some effect. Ms. Chamberlain added that the Ashworth property has a number of carriers within close proximately to each other but they are all separate installations and in that case, we would look at all the antennas to assess the total RF on the property.

Commissioner Viers asked how many antennas currently exist. Mr. Driscoll replied that there are (6) antennas for the AT&T site, (6) T-Mobile and (12) for Sprint/Nextel.

Chair Wallis asked if there are any other cities that have the definition of an Antenna Farm or similar to it.  Mr. Driscoll replied he was unsure. Chair Wallis stated it would be helpful to see how other Cities handled the kind of situation.

Michelle Martinea applicant stated she works with PG&E on a regular basis and PG&E  will not allow the area to become an antenna farm and will not allow AT&T install more than what is being proposed.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that the applicant’s alternative site analysis statement speaks about providing coverage to a nursery and to a water tower and asked for clarification why AT&T is providing coverage to a nursery and to a water tower.

Ms. Martinea replied she would have to speak with the applicant Cindel Pena and added that the description meant north of the nursery and not providing coverage to the nursery.

Commissioner Sachs asked where the other antennas were  relocated. Ms. Martinea replied that when installing LTE (Long Term Evolution) they had to reposition the old antenna for coverage to a particular area.

Commissioner Sachs stated that at past wireless telecommunications meetings the Planning Commission was forewarned about new technology. Commissioner Sachs recalls having discussions regarding other sites and where the population centers were located and the reach of these antennas and  asked how were the antenna RF signal  measured. Ms. Martinea replied it is measured in feet and she had approached PG&E about other poles that might work but the coverage range would not work.  PG&E only allows certain towers to house antennas. Commissioner Sachs added that he would like to see an inventory of what poles PG&E allows antennas on.

Chair Wallis commented he would like to have copies of PG&E standards for determining what an antenna farm is and how many antennas can be placed on PG&E structures.

Christa Freihofner San Ramon resident stated she was pleased with the landscaping along the PG&E corridor. Ms. Freihofner also stated that this is the best site for upgrades and is the furthest from any neighbor. Ms. Freihofner also stated that she is concerned about exposure and feels there are enough utility towers in the area.

Commissioner Sachs asked Ms. Freihofner if there is any need for beautification along the PG&E corridor. Ms. Freihofner replied she would like to see the landscaping continue along the PG&E corridor.

Commissioner Viers stated that he is not supportive of the antenna upgrade and there are other locations within the City where antennas could be placed.

Vice Chair Benedetti stated that we need to be open minded to new design standards and  to keep up with changing technology.

Commissioner Sachs stated he would like to know what other locations AT&T is looking to expand their service or adding more antennas. Commissioner Sachs added he is interested in seeing other sites  being utilized and the area surrounding north of Old Ranch Estates should be utilized and why has AT&T not looked in this area. Commissioner Sachs added that he would like to see an inventory of what is available City wide for future antenna sites.

Ms. Chamberlain stated that the site Commissioner Sachs was referring to is in Contra Costa County it is the water tank site and in the County’s jurisdiction.

Vice Chair Benedetti stated that upgrading technology is the reason AT&T is adding new antennas and would like to see AT&T further explain alternative sites considered in the vicinity.

Commissioner Viers stated he is not against technology or upgrades but is against adding more antennas.

Chair Wallis commented that with technology changing upgrades to equipment will occur. Chair Wallis added when AT&T wants to add additional antennas they will need to go through the Planning Commission. Chair Wallis commented we need to look at PG&E’s standards for how many antennas they allow on their towers. Chair Wallis further added to give staff direction and based on the comments staff can prepare a draft resolution and that AT&T returns with the information requested. Chair Wallis continued the public hearing to September 17, 2013, at which time the Planning Commission will consider a draft resolution.

10.  NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS   

11. STUDY SESSION/COMMISSIONER LIAISON REPORT AND INTEREST ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS.

12.  ADJOURNMENT
There being no further discussion Chair Wallis adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.   

Submitted by:

Luisa Amerigo
Recording Secretary   

 

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