Public hearing in Sonoma on Verizon cell phone sites

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City of Sonoma Planning Department staff will present background information on three Verizon downtown commercial cell site proposals to the Planning Commission at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Lee Afflerbach of Colombia Telecommunications Corp. will discuss wireless telecommunications site function, design, signal coverage, radio frequency emissions and FCC Guidelines for human exposure to radio frequency.

Verizon Wireless is proposing to install and operate three cell sites located in the public right-of-way adjacent to commercially zoned properties. Verizon has suspended its pursuit of seven residential sites and is focusing at this time on three “commercial” sites. CBR Group has applied on behalf of Verizon Wireless for use permits to install cell equipment for wireless services on utility poles owned by the Northern California Joint Pole Authority.

The public hearing will focus on Verizon’s cell site use permit application for three downtown locations:

An existing utility pole on the west side of Fifth St. West adjacent to the Sonoma Valley Shopping Center;

A newly installed utility pole located within the public right of way on the west side of Second Street West, near 453 Second St. W.

A newly installed utility pole on the east side of First Street West, where a utility pole is currently located near 574 First St. W.

The residential sites will not be presented to the Planning Commission at this time.

In the most recent designs submitted to the city, dated Oct. 11, the revised plans now only include a two-band frequency system at the site as opposed to three, and the size of the “stealthing” cannisters has been reduced from 48 by 14 inches to 24 by 7.9 inches.

Staff is seeking feedback and direction from the Planning Commission on the designs of each site and, specifically, on the desirability of undergrounding/vaulting of the support equipment for each site.

The Planning Commission will provide direction to staff regarding project approval with or without conditions of approval or alternatively, denial.

The Planning Commission or the City Council has until March 4, 2019 to complete a final determination on Verizon’s three use permit proposals.

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