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City To Consider Wireless Communications Tower and Shack at Washington Park

On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at or after 3:00pm at City Hall, the Zoning Administrator of the City of Alameda will hold a public hearing to consider a permit to install a ninety-foot wireless communications tower and two, one-story equipment shacks at Washington Park.

Readers alerted Action Alameda News on receipt of a copy of the notice of the public hearing. The applicant is Trillium Telecom, of Huntington Beach, California.

One correspondent, who asked not to be identified, wrote that “Many telecommunication companies are taking advantage of the economic downturn to obtain long-term use permits from cash-strapped local governments. It looks like Alameda is the newest target.”

Over the past ten to fifteen years, mobile phone carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have increasingly exited from the business of maintaining and operating cell tower sites, preferring instead to outsource the job to operators such as Trillum and American Tower.

Washington Park is zoned as an O, “Open Space District.” According to Municipal Code Chapter XXX, Article I, 30-4.19, “It is intended that this district classification be applied on lands, tide lands and water areas suitable for recreational and aesthetic resources, and that the regulations established will promote and protect recreational uses, scenic vistas or reservation of land or water against the intrusion of improper uses.”

The two telecommunications equipment shacks would be 160 and 1,001 square feet in size, respectively. (A one-bedroom apartment in Alameda is typically less than 1,000 square feet.)

Our correspondent continued:

I also urge Action Alameda to remind its readers that publicly traded telecommunication companies seek to maximize shareholder profits. Centralized cell phone towers offer cost-effective means to provide widespread coverage. But they also create blight, especially when juxtaposed with one and two-story historical buildings. Alameda residents need reliable cell phone coverage, but this does not mean we need to compromise our City aesthetics. Our City Planners should reject this application, and instead encourage the construction of inconspicuous rooftop antennae in commercial zones. Trillium Telecom will likely claim this is not technically or economically viable, but if they really want “to arrive at ‘win-win’ solutions for [their] clients and the communities in which they are building” (as their website claims), they will demonstrate a willingness to work with City Planners to find solutions that do not appropriate Alameda’s public parks or compromise Alameda’s historical character.

The Community Development Department staff contact for this project is Simone Wolter, who may be contacted at (510)747-6882 or by fax at (510)747-6853. Comments on the application may also be sent to the Zoning Administrator for the City of Alameda, (510)747-6850 / Fax # (510)747-6853.

Notice of Public Hearing for Trillium Telecom Use Permit

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