Two new cellular communications antennas are on the drawing boards for the North Coast, but area advisors advised against approval of one of the projects at their meeting in April.
North Coast Advisory Council members voted 8-2 at their meeting April 18 to not recommend that the county issue a permit to increase the number of antennas in a building at 2150 Main St. owned by the Linn family’s Linnvestments LLC, a building that already houses an AT&T cellular-communications facility. The council advises county planners and supervisors.
The building includes the offices of physician Robert Gong, dentist Frank Fratto, Sierra Vista Lab and other businesses and, for some at the meeting, that was the problem. The project would add five more antennas within the building’s existing attic-roof peaks and parapets, plus some indoor equipment within an interior room.
Allan MacKinnon vehemently objected to having cellular facilities and their microwave radiation in a medical building, “where children and people are being treated” and having dental work done.
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Tom Gray, who chairs the council’s Land Use and Projects Committee, countered that cellphones “are an essential safety tool, not just an indulgence or a toy,” and that medical hazards haven’t been proven.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson said he and his peers are “flatly precluded by federal law from taking into consideration exposure to radio frequencies” when considering permits for cellular communications facilities.
Eventually, enough council members sided with MacKinnon to reject recommending the project.
However, they did vote 7 to 1, with two abstentions, to recommend another T-Mobile antenna project adjacent to existing wireless antenna and sewage treatment facilities at the Ragged Point Inn. That location also has other cellular communications facilities.
The Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees is also in the midst of considering a Verizon proposal that would install 4G antennas on top of the Coast Union High School library. The project would improve data service to the school, but would not improve phone service.
A Verizon representative gave trustees an overview of the concept at the board’s April 19 meeting. The board unanimously gave Superintendent Chris Adams instructions to negotiate with Verizon.
As the proposal is still in the drawing-board stage, the board and public will learn more about the project at future district meetings.