The Encinitas City Council Wednesday night authorized a telephone utility company to attach telecommunications equipment on a city-owned streetlight.
In a 4-1 vote, council members voted to amend its 2006 agreement with Crown Castle NG West, Inc., formerly NextG Networks of California, Inc., to allow for an additional streetlight attachment near 1331 Blue Heron Avenue. The company has already installed 21 streetlight attachments throughout the city.
“As technology continues to move in this direction, more and more of these will come along in areas where there is the demand,” said Jim Madaffer, a representative of Crown Castle NG West, Inc.
Several community members expressed a variety of concerns and urged the council to vote against the amendment. Potential radiation exposure was chief among those concerns.
“We all understand we’re exposed to various forms of radiation daily through cell phones, computers, flying in planes,” said Peggy Shima, who lives on Blue Heron Avenue. “But is it really necessary to add another layer of radiation next to people’s homes where they live and sleep?”
Residents were also concerned about the property value of their homes and obstruction of their views.
“I urge you to please look out for my best interest and the interest of my neighbors and my family,” Leah Manuel said. “If you lived there, would you like this across the street from your house and your ocean view?”
A few speakers also questioned whether there was enough demand for the structure as another streetlight attachment is located down the street.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who casted the sole vote against the amendment, agreed that the need for the equipment wasn’t demonstrated to her.
“I don’t know the need for this particular receiver,” she said.
Jonathan Kramer, the city's telecommunications consultant, warned that the council wasn’t deciding if there is need for the equipment, but if the company could attach telecommunications equipment to the city’s streetlight. He added that as a telephone utility company, Crown Castle NG West, Inc. can utilize the public right-of-way, and that as designed and proposed, the site complies with the Federal Communications Commission’s standards.
“It is conceivable, perhaps even likely, that if this pole were denied [the company] would then come back and put in an application to essentially put in a new pole within a dozen feet,” Kramer said.