City council revises ordinance proposing new cell phone towers in Calabasas

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City council revises ordinance proposing new cell phone towers in Calabasas

Kinsey Marker - Staff Writer

Kinsey Marker - Staff Writer

Kinsey Marker - Staff Writer

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On May 23, 2012 a revised draft of the proposal to place cell phone towers in Calabasas was presented to the Calabasas City Council. The newly proposed ordinance includes setbacks of about 1,000 feet from homes, residences and schools as well as increased monitoring of the sites.

The draft ordinance was presented to the city council for the first hearing on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. For years, Calabasas residents and community members have opposed the installation of new cell tower facilities close to residential neighborhoods. Residents at the hearing testified that the draft needed many screen-shot-2012-06-07-at-12-58-45-amadditions to make stricter regulations before it passed. As a result of this discussion, the council made several substantial changes to the draft.

“Advocates for these new provisions are avid users of cell phones and supporters of the technology who urge the city to ensure that the deployment of the infrastructure is done so in the most organized, reasonable and safe manner within Calabasas,” said resident Liat Samouhi.

There are federal and state laws that both acknowledge and limit local control of cell towers. Cities have some leeway in deciding the placement and construction of cell towers, but they cannot discriminate between providers. Therefore, if one cell phone carrier is permitted in a specific zone, the city cannot deny other carriers the right to build a tower in that zone. Wireless facilities are prohibited in some locations due to aesthetic and safety concerns, including overexposure to radiation which may cause health problems.

As a result of the controversy, residents have gained an increased awareness of local issues. A petition has been circulating that asks the Las Virgenes Unified School District to adopt a resolution which prohibits the placement of wireless facilities on or near school grounds.

The draft ordinance was presented to the city council for the first hearing on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. For years, Calabasas residents and community members have opposed the installation of new cell

screen-shot-2012-06-07-at-12-59-27-amtower facilities close to residential neighborhoods. Residents at the hearing testified that the draft needed many addi- tions to make stricter regulations before it passed. As a result of this discussion, the council madeseveral substantial changes to the draft.

“I love my phone but I do not want to risk the health and safety concerns that would result from having cell towers on school campus,” said sophomore Leo Cho.

Meetings regarding cell tow- ers have been an ongoing issue in Calabasas for over a decade. However, two years ago the issue became increasingly prominent at city council meetings as residents fought to ban T-mobile from placing an entire cellular base station facility 50 feet from homes. The meetings will continue to address these issues as long as residents fight to ban the placement of wireless facilities near residential communities.

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