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Appeal Filed of AT&T Antennas Approval

An Albany resident has filed an appeal of the city Planning & Zoning Commission's Jan 17 approval of AT&T cell phone antennas on a San Pablo Avenue office building. The appeal says the antennas project would violate several regulations.

A new front opened Wednesday in the prolonged bureaucratic battle over whether AT&T can install cell phone antennas on a San Pablo Avenue office building in Albany.

On Jan. 30, Albany resident Heike Abeck filed an appeal of the Jan. 17 Planning & Zoning Commission approval of an application by AT&T Mobility to install antennas on the roof of a three-story office building at 1023 San Pablo Ave. 

The appeal is expected to bring the issue to the City Council.

The commission's approval followed earlier rejections of AT&T's first application for the project, filed in 2008. The planning commission rejected that application last year, and when the appeal of that decision landed at the City Council, the council too turned thumbs down.

The commission decisions on both applications, and the council's decision on the first application, revolved largely around technical issues of conformance with zoning and building standards, such as height limits and amount of allowable rooftop structure.

Abeck's appeal lists five objections, which are attached to this article. Here is a summary:

  1. The building is non-conforming with height limits and therefore should be altered only for maintenance or residential use.
  2. The approved project lacks required screening.
  3. The project does not meet criteria for a 50-foot setback from residential property.
  4. The project site lies in the city's "last-preference zone" for cell phone antennas, and AT&T failed to show that other sites are not possible, particularly the USDA facility on Buchanan Street, located in a higher-preference zone.
  5. The city has not conducted required measurement of Radio Frequency radiation from other cellular sites to make sure that federal standards would not be exceeded.

The building already has Sprint wireless antennas.

AT&T has no antennas in Albany, and a number of its customers have complained about poor service. Opponents of the AT&T plan say the antennas should be further away from residential areas.

AT&T sued the city over the denial of its first application in federal court in August, alleging that the city improperly applied its regulations and that the decision improperly considered health concerns. The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 forbids denying cell phone antenna because of health concerns. 

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See past Albany Patch coverage of cell phone antenna issues. 

David Sanger May 09, 2013 at 01:01 AM
You're a bit late Peter. The appeal was soundly rejected in February
Peter Goodman May 09, 2013 at 04:33 AM
Um, Patch weirdness alert. I wrote this comment months ago. And I believe it appeared months ago. Why does it pop up with today's May 8 date all of a sudden?
Dover May 09, 2013 at 05:20 AM
It's odd you would say that, Jim, considering that Heike has told us that she is quite happy with her AT&T service. One would think you would want your own wife to have the very best. Tsk, tsk. ;-}
Charles Burress May 09, 2013 at 07:26 AM
Peter, that is strange. I found your comment had been suspended because it had been flagged by somebody or somebodies, so I reinstated it. But it shouldn't be showing May 8 as the date it was posted! I'll see if we can get this fixed. In any case, we're switching to a new platform in a few days, so hopefully this kind of problem will disappear.
Paul D May 09, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Can't this Abeck person be labeled a vexatious filer or whatever muzzle fits to knock this stuff off?

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