The council voted 7-1, with Councilman Greg Schmid dissenting and Mayor Yiaway Yeh recusing himself, to uphold earlier approvals of the AT&T application by the city's Architectural Review Board and by Planning and Community Environment Director Curtis Williams. The council hearing was prompted by four separate appeals.
The council's vote means that AT&T can proceed with installing antennas at 19 locations throughout the city. Each installation will include a vertical antenna over an existing pole, a battery box and a radio box. The vote also means that the company can proceed with the later phases of its "distributed antenna system" (DAS) without going through the public-hearing process. The system will ultimately feature 80 antennas.
Proponents and opponents of the AT&T application spoke at the appeal hearing, with proponents stating that the antennas are desperately needed in a city that remains plagued by dead spots. Others argued that the antennas would be unsightly and that the city should create a "master plan" for wireless technology rather than approve applications one by one.
One proposed location for an antenna did not receive the council's approval Monday. Resident Stacey Bishop submitted an appeal, saying that 1880 Park Blvd. is less than 20 feet from her home and in direct line of sight from various rooms.
"It's simply too close to a residential home to have an antenna," Bishop told the council.
The council agreed and directed staff to consider other nearby locations in the area for the antenna.
But the council also acknowledged that AT&T has legal rights to install its equipment and approved the other 19 antennas. Various state and federal laws, including the Telecommunications Act, restrict the city's ability to deny applications to wireless-service providers.
The council's purview of Monday was limited largely to aesthetic issues, and members concluded that the visual and noise impacts of the antennas did not warrant denial.
"They're certainly not going to be put in an art museum, but they aren't anything that's going to detract from our community," Councilman Larry Klein said of the antennas.
The antennas will be installed at utility poles near the following locations: 179 and 595 Lincoln Ave., 1851 Bryant St., 1401 Emerson Ave., 134 Park Ave., 109 Coleridge Ave., 1345, 1720 and 2326 Webster St., 1248 and 2101 Waverley St., 968 Dennis Drive, 370 Lowell Ave., 105 Rinconada Ave., 2704 Louis Road, 464 Churchill Ave., 255 North California Ave., 1085 Arrowhead Way, and Oregon Expressway near Ross Road.