LA Residents’ Groups Press Again for Oversight, Regulation as Cell Sites Proliferate 4

After hearing on July 29 from a contact in the Los Angeles city attorney’s office that a [wireless] “ordinance” is being “worked on” (more than a year and a half after the city attorney was directed to undertake the effort in Council File No. 09-2645), the Pacific Palisades Residents Association sent the following urgent memo to Carmen Trutanich and other LA officials seeking more information:

Honorable Los Angeles city attorney, council members and other city officials:

Following up on PPRA’s previous communications concerning cell tower regulation and proliferation in the city’s residential areas/PROWs, we direct your attention to the following recent developments:

1. LA Times technology blog on June 15 reporting on T-Mobile’s roll out of a “grand undertaking” in Los Angeles to build “all new infrastructure” (i.e., the “immediate expansion” of “new 4G towers”), for the purpose of achieving faster data capacity (a strategy other carriers are also expected to employ in the coming months).

2. Daily News reports on July 19, 20 and 25 about additional controversies involving wireless antenna installations in or near residential areas of Northridge and Lake Balboa (including a T-Mobile installation on church property in Lake Balboa that was recently destroyed in a fire of unknown cause).

3. City of Burbank passage on July 26 of an amendment to its zoning ordinance requiring a CUP for all wireless facility applications (the city will hold further public hearings to consider a comprehensive new wireless facility ordinance in late 2010).

4. LA Times article on July 27 detailing concerns about failure of existing (outdated) regulations to keep up with rapidly evolving wireless technology and the proliferation of new cell towers in the form of “distributed antenna system” installations throughout Southern California PROWs.,0,4467921.story

5. Continuing, controversial wireless facility sitings or proposed sitings in residential neighborhoods of Los Angeles, including in Granada Hills, Westchester, Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood Hills, West Los Angeles, Bel Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, San Pedro, Sunland-Tujunga and other areas (not widely-reported in Los Angeles media). To date, 43 neighborhood and community councils/homeowner organizations/federations, representing 78 organizations city-wide, have publicly expressed concerns or passed motions calling for revised regulations (see attached list).

This issue is reaching the boiling point city-wide and regionally. Without seeking disclosure by the city attorney’s office of confidential information or attorney work-product, we respectfully ask the following:

* What steps are the City Council/city officials taking to address this serious and growing problem?

* What is the status of the investigation and report which the city attorney was directed to undertake in Council File No. 09-2645 (a matter of public record) over a year and a half ago? Will the report be made available to the public, and if so, when and in what manner?

* Is the city attorney working on any revisions to Los Angeles’ cell tower regulations, and if so, what generally are the revisions and regulations under consideration?

* Has telecom law expert Jonathan Kramer — whom we introduced to city officials last year and who has also consulted with the cities of Burbank and Glendale (which passed a comprehensive new wireless facility ordinance this spring) — been retained by the city attorney or other city officials, and if so, for what general purpose?

* Has there been a lawsuit or other public claim brought against the city in regard to any cell tower installation, and if so, what are the name/s and reference no. of the lawsuit/claim?

* Assuming that substantive revisions to Los Angeles’ ordinances are in fact being considered (a development that PPRA applauds, if true), will there be transparency and opportunity for public comment/input in the drafting and enactment process (as occurred within the past year in Glendale and Burbank)?

We would appreciate the courtesy of a response. Thank you.

Pacific Palisades Residents Association