RED BLUFF PLANNING COMMISSION


MINUTES

Date of Meeting: January 10, 2006

Time of Meeting: 5:15 p.m.

Place of Meeting: City Council Chambers

555 Washington Street


Commissioners Present: Doug Dale

James Brink

Jack Winter

Greg Latourell


Commissioners Absent: Andrew Christ (absent-excused)


Staff Present: Charlie Mullen, Planning Director

Mark Barthel, Interim Public Works Director

Scot Timboe, Planner

Cheryl Smith, Deputy City Clerk

JD Ellison, Building Director/Official




Chairperson Dale called the meeting to order at 5:16 p.m.

Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, reported that Commissioner Christ had contacted him last week to inform him that he would be unable to attend this meeting due to being out of town.


A. CITIZENS COMMENTS

None




B. CONSENT CALENDAR

M/S/C Brink, Winter to approve the Consent Calendar.

AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Dale and Winter

NOES: None

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Commissioner: Christ (absent-excused) and Latourell (abstained – not Planning Commission Member on that date)

1. MINUTES – DECEMBER 13, 2005

APPROVED – 3-0-2


C. CURRENT BUSINESS

1. INTRODUCTION OF NEW PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBER GREG LATOURELL

Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, introduced new Planning Commission member Greg Latourell and welcomed him to the Planning Commission.


2. SELECTION/APPOINTMENT OF NEW CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR

M/S/C Winter, Latourell nominating Jim Brink to serve as Chair for 2006.

AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Dale, Latourell and Winter

NOES: None

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Commissioner: Christ (absent-excused)

M/S/C Brink, Winter nominating Doug Dale to serve as Vice-Chair for 2006.

AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Latourell and Winter

NOES: Commissioner: Dale

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Commissioner: Christ (absent-excused)

Chairperson Brink thanked Commissioner Dale for his guidance and wisdom over the last year.



3. 05-002; REQUEST FOR A SEPARATION EXCEPTION TO PLACE A 65 FOOT TALL FREEWAY ORIENTED SIGN WITHIN 200 FEET OF AN EXISTING FREEWAY ORIENTED SIGN ON A SEPARATE PARCEL AS ALLOWED IN THE RED BLUFF SIGN REGULATIONS SECTION 7-F (3b); 10 GILMORE RD.; APN 41-190-83; BUTTE COMMUNITY BANK (APPLICANT)

Scot Timboe, Planner, reviewed the staff report and gave staff’s recommendation that the Planning Commission:

1. Consider all public testimony and all other information relating to this item submitted to the Planning Commission.

2. If determined to be appropriate adopt Resolution No. 06-002 approving a separation exception and the location of the Butte Community Bank’s 65 foot high Freeway Oriented Sign within 200 ft. of the Best Value Inn Freeway Sign located approximately 150 ft. to the south on an adjacent parcel, under the Sign Regulations Section 7-F (3b).

Chairperson Brink opened the meeting for public comments.

John Elko, resident, requested clarification on how this sign near a Federal Highway does not violate provisions of the 1965 Federal Highway Beautification Act “The Lady Bird Johnson Act”, which was designed to eliminate billboards and signage on federal highways.

Mr. Timboe stated that local government sign regulations regulate private property signs not the state and federal government. The sign regulations were adopted by the City Council.

Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, stated that the state and federal government give the local jurisdictions power of authority in this matter. It is on private property and the regulations are imposed upon by the local jurisdiction, being the City of Red Bluff. The City of Red Bluff’s sign regulations and Municipal Code authorize the provisions to allow for these types of signs. There are some sections of freeways that are designated scenic corridors, but I-5 is not.

Mr. Elko stated that he was protesting having any more signs along the freeway in the City’s jurisdiction and felt that the Planning Commission should reject this request as there were too many signs along the highways. The intent of the Federal government was to limit and eliminate signs along the highways.

Richard Clapp, resident, stated that he felt that highway signs were a dangerous distraction and felt that the Planning Commission should limit the number of signs along the freeway.

Mr. Mullen stated that some City’s do choose not to allow freeway signs, but the City of Red Bluff does allow freeway signs under its sign regulations.

Joe Hupp, Hupp Neon, stated that they were not going to put up a big sign and felt that they had improved the sign that is proposed. He stated that they do look at the community when designing the signs.

Commissioner Latourell requested clarification if the sign would also show the temperature and if there were any other monument signs in Red Bluff.


Mr. Mullen stated other signs that show time and temperature were Walgreens, Moss Lumber, Lassen Lumber and the Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioner Latourell stated that it was a nice public amenity to have the time and temperature on the sign and stated that he believed that the setback was probably acceptable.

Commissioner Dale stated that the City Sign Regulations do give the City the right to reject this request.

Mr. Mullen stated that the request is discretionary and if the Planning Commission decides to go in that direction he asked that the Planning Commission give specific findings and reasons for denial. Staff has reviewed the site and on this side of the freeway there are not many signs.

Mr. Clapp questioned if the Planning Commission was making an exception to the rules to allow this sign.

Mr. Timboe stated that was correct and that the standard was 200 feet separation between two freeway freestanding signs and in this case it’s 150 feet that they are requesting because its not possible to put the sign at any greater distance to meet the 200 foot separation.

Mr. Clapp stated that if the Planning Commission needed a reason to deny this request then it would be because they are making an exception to the rules.

Mr. Mullen stated that the provisions of the Sign Regulations do allow the Planning Commission to consider and approve exceptions.

M/S/C Dale, Winter to adopt Resolution No. 06-002 approving a separation exception and the location of the Butte Community Bank’s 65 foot high Freeway Oriented Sign within 200 ft. of the Best Value Inn Freeway Sign located approximately 150 ft. to the South on an adjacent parcel, under the Sign Regulations Section 7-F (3b).

AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Dale, Latourell and Winter

NOES: Commissioner: None

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Commissioner: Christ (absent-excused)


4. PUBLIC HEARING; USE PERMIT NO. 362; TO EXPAND/ADD/COLLOCATE FOUR (4) PANEL ANTENNAS, ASSOCIATED GROUND EQUIPMENT AND ONE (1) MICROWAVE DISH ONTO AN EXISTING MONOPOLE AND APPURTENANT FACILITIES OVER 50 FEET; 827 VILLAGE DR. B; APN: 27-340-59 & 61; LEGACY WIRELESS SERVICES (REPRESENTATIVE), CLEARWIRE WIRELESS (APPLICANT), VERIZON (MONOPOLE OWNER), CITY OF RED BLUFF (PROPERTY OWNER)

Scot Timboe, Planner, reviewed the staff report and gave staff’s recommendation that the Planning Commission:

1. Open the Public Hearing.


2. Review and Consider all public testimony and all other information relating to this item submitted to the Planning Commission.

3. Adopt Resolution No. 06-001, approving Use Permit No. 362 permitting the installation of additional antennae on the existing communications tower and appurtenant facilities at 827 Village Dr. B as shown on the plans submitted September 13, 2005 (Attachment “G”), with the Findings and Conditions of approval shown in Resolution No. 06-001.

Mr. Timboe stated that staff was concerned about what was on the tower at this point, what type of RF emissions there were and how this expansion would affect the neighborhood or the people in the neighborhood. So staff required that an RF Engineer to provide an analysis of the radio frequencies for the maximum potential exposure and they stated that if everything on the tower was used at one time it would have a level of 28.96% of what the FCC allows. This location is currently at 28.96% (if everything is used at one time), so it’s roughly 1/3 of what the Federal Government allows. Clear Wireless with the four panel antenna’s and the one microwave would only add 1.76% to the existing RF emissions (MPE). The Environmental Consultant had an expert review the applicant’s engineer’s analysis that was provided to the City and they confirmed that the FCC’s Maximum Permissible Exposure at approximately 30.4%, but also stated that the average MPE was only about 12% of the FCC’s allowed RF exposure.


Chairperson Brink opened the Public Hearing at 5:46 p.m.

Richard Clapp, concerned citizen, questioned the emission levels from the ground equipment and whether it was taken into consideration.

Mr. Timboe stated that no emission from the ground as the RF’s come from the tower antennas.

Mr. Clapp questioned whether the Mitigated Negative Declaration involved CEQA.

Mr. Timboe stated that it had under the Hazardous Emissions Section to make sure that the frequencies were below the Federal requirements.

Mr. Clapp complimented staff on their work and stated that it sounded like a better job than what was done on the InEnTec project by the County.

Rich Cole, resident, presented a petition from residents of the Village Drive area protesting approval of granting this request. He voiced his concerns about the radiation level increase and the affect on real estate values. He questioned how much the City received in rental from this tower location.

Mark Barthel, Interim Public Works Director, stated that currently the City receives $1200-1,250 per month and that the addition of these antennas would add another $200 per month to the lease agreement.

Commissioner Latourell requested clarification on the zoning of the property.

Mr. Mullen stated that it was P-A (Public Agency).

Chairperson Brink stated that this Use Permit is just for the addition of the four (4) antennas and has nothing to do with the existing tower.

Mr. Cole stated that he knows that and that what he and the other people who signed the petition just don’t want anymore.

Commissioner Dale stated that Mr. Cole’s reference to another tower maybe the tower that is mentioned in the staff report as being to the south of town so that they can get full coverage of the area.

Mr. Mullen stated that there is not another tower being built at the sight, just adding the antennas. The proposal is to co-locate an additional carrier on the existing tower, which is not uncommon when these types of towers are installed, in order to minimize the number of overall towers that the City may have. He asked that Mr. Cole expand on the grounds for objection.

Mr. Cole stated it was increased radiation, beautification and real estate values.

Gilbert Beyrouti, MicroSat owner, stated that this antenna would allow high speed internet for the area.

Commissioner Dale requested clarification on the location of the antennas.

Mr. Timboe stated that was Verizon, the current carrier, and they replaced the whip antennas with a panel antennas, which is allowed under their current lease.

Dan Dutton, Legacy Wireless, distributed photos showing what was being planned. He stated that their intention was to co-locate on the existing towers and that there would not be another tower from Clearwire. The panels would be painted to match the pole and would be located as close to the pole as possible. They are required by their FCC License to provide service to this area.

Mr. Clapp requested clarification on what the zoning PA stood for.

Mr. Timboe stated “Public Agency”, meaning the City of Red Bluff and gave some examples of other areas that are zoned Public Agency.

Mr. Mullen stated that for clarification that within the PA district there are lists of uses that are permitted outright and uses that are listed as conditional. The installation of a telecommunication tower is listed as a Conditional Use Permit so it is listed in the PA district as a use that can be considered with the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit.

Mr. Clapp stated that most of the towers that he sees are away from neighborhoods where people live and that he’s concerned with the bigger problem of the exposure to radiation and/or radio frequencies. Incorporate into the conditions to say that this will be the last addition to this tower.

Susan Jackson requested clarification from Mr. Dutton regarding the location of the other tower and why this couldn’t be located at that location. Ms. Jackson stated that she was also concerned with radiation exposure.

Mr. Dutton stated that it is an existing monopole that is located south of town, but that two locations were required. Vertical separation is needed between the antennas which is why they are not right at the top.

Mr. Mullen stated that very seldom do you get more than two (2) carriers on a tower.

Velma Trujillo, resident, stated that she had questioned Mr. Cole as to his concerns when he was circulating the petition and that he had stated aesthetic as well as radio frequencies. She did want to compliment the Planners on the detail and research done. Two things that she wanted to comment on were that there were not enough study and/or research to determine what is safe and unsafe. She would like to see everyone be proactive and not reactive. Suggested that if no criteria are available at this time that criteria’s be established to address the issues in the future. She would like to see the Commission move ahead and do a study to establish criteria. She also questioned what the safe distance is from heavy RF’s.

Mr. Clapp asked that the Planning Commission consider writing into the declaration that there will be no more activity on that tower or in that particular area to allow the citizens to feel better about it.

Mr. Timboe stated that this Use Permit is for just this project and that it did not carry forward to any future projects.

Mr. Clapp questioned plans for future and asked that the Planning Commission not allow towers in the future in or near neighborhoods.

Chairperson Brink stated that it was not in the Planning Commissions jurisdiction to plan this and that was up to the Planning Director and staff as each individual case came up.

Mr. Mullen stated that there are different ways to deal with telecommunications and that in larger cities towers are put on top of high rises. Staff’s concern is to ensure that it is in compliance with FCC regulations.

Mr. Timboe stated that in the past twelve years this is the first second company that has requested to be on this pole.

Mr. Clapp stated that he planned to be a thorn in the side of any health issue from here on out and feels that changes need to be made.

Mr. Mullen stated that the Planning Commission should take all these issues into consideration.

Chairperson Brink closed the Public Hearing at 6:21 p.m.

Commissioner Dale stated that he was on the Planning Commission when this was first approved and very few people objected to this pole.

Mr. Mullen stated that staff had requested an increase in the notification area from 300 feet to 500 feet.

Commissioner Latourell requested clarification on the distance from the source that radio frequency is tested and line of site issues. He also questioned whether or not the Saddlebrook area would be a more appropriate site for this tower and the maintenance of the current tower.

Mr. Dutton stated that studies are done at ground level and he believed it was a 30 degree drop and that it is not necessarily a straight shot, but that line of site is the acceptable language as frequency will penetrate some smaller trees. As to coverage they want to cover the greater Red Bluff area and that is why this location was selected. The maintenance of the tower is in the lease and that antenna will be painted to match the existing pole.

M/S/C Latourell, Dale to adopt Resolution No. 06-001, approving Use Permit No. 362 permitting the installation of additional antennae on the existing communication tower and appurtenant facilities at 827 Village Dr. B as shown on the plans submitted September 13, 2005 (Attachment “G”), with the Findings and Conditions of approval shown in Resolution No. 06-001.



AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Dale, Latourell and Winter

NOES: None

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Commissioner: Christ (absent-excused)


D. STAFF ITEMS/REPORTS:


Mr. Mullen reported that for the January 24, 2006 meeting an applicant would like to have a workshop with the Planning Commission on a project, Brewery Creek Subdivision, they are working on in the Baker Road area, which is within the Sphere of Influence. Staff does intend to notify surrounding property owners within 500 feet of the proposed project. There will be another workshop at a February meeting for a project proposed for the Wilcox area.

The next Sphere of Influence meeting will be held by the City Council on Monday, January 30, 2006 at the Community/Senior Center located at 1500 South Jackson Street.

There being no further business Chairperson Brink Dale adjourned the meeting at 6:38 p.m. to January 24, 2006 at 5:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Charlie Mullen

Planning Director