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City Council OKs Streetlight Attachment

Crown Castle NG West, Inc. will install its 22nd streetlight attachment near 1331 Blue Heron Avenue.

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.

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Jay Berman November 15, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Oh the radiation ! Between these, smart meters and cell phones, we're DOOMED I say !! lol ...
Lynn Marr November 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
There were more concerns besides the radiation. Some of these were reduction in property values, and as Councilmember Teresa Barth noted, there was no specific demonstration of need, as in dropped calls, etc., within the existing network transmitters and receivers. Also, what is important to me is that the taxpayers are footing the bill for "special counsel" who is a lawyer who certainly didn't appear to be "neutral" as he alleged, and who is billed as "telecommunications consultant," to come in and to directly threaten Council with threats of litigation. As City Attorney Glenn Sabine said, the City has proprietary ownership of the lightposts. We have fulfilled our contract with Crown Castle with respect to the number of installations already existing on City infrastructure. If the City had denied the application for an additional installation, then Crown Castle could have applied to install a pole of its own. Only if that were denied, would there be any threat of litigation. Outgoing Mayor Jerome Stocks noted that there were similarities here to the banner issue, where the city has proprietary interest in the lightposts where banners are traditionally installed, after a permit is pulled through the City Manager's office. Unfortunately, the City, under the super majority of Stocks, Bond, Gaspar and Muir has bowed down, making a decision out of fear of litigation, not on the merits of the neighbors' concerns.
Jeff November 15, 2012 at 09:52 PM
City Council acted like cowards IMO. They could have said no to this one (especially due to the fact that the very next street light 150 yards away has the equipment already) and see how it plays out. What is the Council there for anyway if not to defend our views and property value? Jeff Manuel 1372 Blue Heron Ave. Encinitas
Jay Berman November 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Its a network, council members are not communications engineers ... the same people that complain about RF sit in front of their computers, TVs and cell phones .. if it was up to politicians to place infrastructure, we would still be in the dark ...
Jeff November 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM
So does this network require the equipment to be placed on every 150 yard span along our streets? That is how close the next one is further up the hill. Common sense still applies and this is worth going to the mat and see how it plays out. Just because a Telcom company says they want to place some equipment somewhere, does not mean it is required and there are no better alternatives. Their Network Design Engineers can come up with alternatives that do not have this density and close proximity to homes. I am not afraid to say no, why are you?
Jay Berman November 16, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Common sense, network utilization and radio propagation have nothing in common .. If this company feels the need to place this node and pay for it, it must be needed for their network to properly function ... why would they buy and install something they don't need, would you ?
jennifer brinley November 16, 2012 at 02:26 AM
The council majority folded like party chairs (only one member had the courage to say no) as the supposedly neutral consulting attorney threatened to come back with a lawsuit or cell tower placement instead of the Distributed Antenna System. It's unlikely a cell tower would be introduced since they cost more than the cheaper, more profitable DAS attachments. The fact that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 forbids cities to refuse cell towers and these newer DAS attachments on the basis of health concerns is a blatant example of corporate money superseding public interest. Many countries around the world have lower limits on non-thermal radiofrequency radiation these DAS attachments emit, including Russia and China. The FCC in charge of regulating the industry only regulates thermal regulation not this type of non-ionizing radiation. Therefore, there is no regulation, the telecommunications industry has carte blanche and can do what they want. For more information and links see http://encinitas.patch.com/blog_posts/potential-health-risks-of-distributed-antenna-systems-in-encinitas-neighborhoods
Jay Berman November 16, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Do you understand how little electromagnetic energy these Distributed Antenna Systems put out ? If you have ever been to PETCO park .. look up ... the place is packed with wireless antenna systems, ever 20 feet or so throughout the entire stadium .. Maybe they put out a watt ?? Without them you wouldn't have reliable 4G/LTE .. These don't have much range so you need more of them, you also need more to keep up with subscribers ..
Jay Berman November 16, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Your cell phone is probably 80 - 100Mw ... you don't need much power if you have greater density of antennas ... old cell phones were 3 watts ... my hand held HAM radio is 25 watts on 2 meters .. my car is 100 watts .. Your microwave is 600 - 1000 watts
Jeff November 16, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Electromagnetic field from AC power is a very different thing from radio and cell frequency, very different and not the issue at all. My thought is place them on nearby Saxony where there are no homes for a 1/4 mile and no property value impacts due to the ugly equipment in the middle of Ocean View for several homes. The Telcom may not want to do that if it would incur additional costs for that location, Cities should be able to push back to those type of solutions and that is the common sense I speak of.
Jay Berman November 16, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Jeff, I am an RF engineer, I build out mesh and wide area private networks, I'm also an amateur radio operator, I do understand electromagnetic radiation pretty well ... you have to place antennas / nodes close to the subscribers, they also must be placed properly for redundancy, in a mesh, you don't want to lose coverage if a node goes down .. These operators know exactly where their subscriber densities are and where they have to place their facilities ... this equipment is very expensive .. they don't put them where they are not needed ..
Jeff November 16, 2012 at 03:37 AM
My point is right now Cities apparently have no say about it, and as Jen said above, corporate money superseding public interest, my point is alternative sites, not 150 yards apart from the next sight and near homes in ocean views should be pushed back by the City. There are many other locations that will work; remember they will save $50 and impact a property value rather than spend the money until there is push back.
Jay Berman November 16, 2012 at 04:01 AM
People have these smart phones, cell phones, tablets ... they all require this wireless infrastructure. If politicians were able to stop this infrastructure or tell the wireless companies where to put their equipment, we would have a world class horrible wireless system. This is why it is regulated by the FCC ... can you imagine a city like Berkeley refusing to allow any wireless in its borders ? It would never work ... these antennas put out next to nothing, they are not harmful and will not affect your property value ... antennas must be properly placed for the system to properly work ...
Joe Corder November 16, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Stocks has no back bone, did you see him smile when he voted
David Ahlgren February 12, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Jay - you should add sunshine and travel by air to your list. Those are sources of ionizing radiation and truly dangerous. cell phones are non-ionizing radiation and significantly if at all dangerous. There is a difference
Jay Berman February 12, 2013 at 09:53 PM
David, you are correct !! People seem to think that the human is very fragile ... we're not .... some of us make ourselves fragile ... we cantolerate both ionizing and non ionizing radiation ... obviously we are not going to expose ourselves to plutonium as it would kill us instantly ... but sun or even uranium won't hurt y ou .. You are not going to hang on an airsearch radar, that can hurt ... but cell phones and telcom equipment is fine ...
Jeff Manuel February 13, 2013 at 05:02 AM
This again, read the comments, don't worry about the radiation, how about when in the middle of the ocean view of homes and peoples perception of them effecting the property value, that is the issue and the reason City Counsel should take issue IMO

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