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Cell tower in the works for Freedom Boulevard

Posted: Friday, Nov 29th, 2013




WATSONVILLE — A telephone company is looking to construct a cell tower on Freedom Boulevard, but first it must receive approval from the Watsonville Planning Commission Tuesday.

The 53-foot tower, designed to look like a pine tree, is proposed to be built at 1509 Freedom Blvd., the current site of the Royal Fowle Reservoir, a city-owned water storage, treatment and distribution facility.

According to a report by Marcela Tavantzis, community development director, and Suzi Merriam, senior planner, Forzatelecom submitted an application for the permit. The monopine will hold 12-panel antennae for AT&T.

The proposed location for the tower is near a grove of trees, which the report states will help obscure the monopine.

The Watsonville Municipal Code requires that a telecommunications site must have a set back equal to twice the structure’s height from a residential property. The 53-foot tower, therefore, needs to be at least 106 feet away from adjacent residences.

However, the plans for the monopine show that it is about 97 feet away from the nearest residence. If approved, the tower must be moved to the southwest at least nine feet, according to the report.

A study done by Hammett and Edison, Inc. reported that the radio-frequency exposure level at the nearest walking surface would be 2.6 percent of the maximum exposure limit for the general public.

The proposal for the cell tower is the second such item the Planning Commission has considered in the past month.

On Nov. 5, the Commission looked at a proposal to build a 90-foot monopine in Franich Park, located off of East Lake Avenue, between the Vista Montana residential development and Ann Soldo School.

During the meeting, nearby residents and Ann Soldo School officials expressed concern that the tower would not only be an “eye sore” to look at, but the long-term radiation exposure effects on the students are unknown.

The Planning Commission decided to hold the item and requested a community meeting with residents and engineers to discuss the project. After the meeting, the item will be brought back to the Commission at a later date.

•••

The Watsonville Planning Commission will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Watsonville City Council Chambers, 275 Main St., fourth floor. The agenda can be found at tinyurl.com/k26okcx.

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