UPDATE AT&T is backing off its plans to install small cell towers in San Clemente, CA as angry residents continue to advocate for a stricter city ordinance that prohibits towers within 1,500 feet of schools, homes, and occupied buildings.
On August 21, the San Clemente Planning Commission denied AT&T’s application for conditional use permits to mount small cells on four light fixtures, citing concerns that the installations would be better suited in locations as far away as possible from residential and school properties.
The current permitting process requires a public hearing, a review from the Design Review Subcommittee and a $5,000 deposit from the applicant. However, the city is tasked with adhering to the FCC limitations on how local municipalities can consider use-permit applications, including the shot-clock rule, authority to require design and location standards without prohibiting service, and a cap of $500 per individual application.
According to the San Clemente Times, “Given the shortened shot clocks and low fee requirements imposed by the FCC, modifications to the city’s process are needed. The proposed ordinance would modify the city process for reviewing and permitting small cells, as well as establish objective locational and design criteria in the purview of the city’s local zoning control.”
Associate Planner Katie Crockett told the San Clemente Times on Tuesday, November 12, that AT&T agreed to postpone its proposal until the city’s ordinance is in place. That could be around mid-March—the deadline for when the city must either deny or approve the installation of the sites.
In a report on the proposed ordinance, a proposed a list of standards for preferred and discouraged locations of where small cell sites can be placed would prevent cell sites from being placed within 100 feet of a residential property line, 500 feet from a school and 300 feet from any other existing or proposed wireless tower. These distances are based on where the proposed sites will end up on a map.
“We cannot prohibit service anywhere, so when you look at those radiuses, staff feels that those still give carriers viable locations and would not prohibit service in most locations of the city if they meet separation distances,” Crockett said.
The city will host a wireless workshop on November 20, from 5-7:00 p.m. at San Clemente City Hall, according to Crockett. The city is encouraging the public to submit comments and questions ahead of time so it can adequately address those concerns during the meeting, making the best use of everyone’s time.
November 21, 2019