San Mateo CA Grand Jury on Muni Cell Siting Policies

Last month, the Civil Grand Jury of the County of San Mateo, California released the results of its inquiry into municipal wireless siting matters.

The report, titled “Cell Towers: Public Opposition and Revenue Source” asked as its questions,

Do cities and the County of San Mateo (the County) have effective governing policies and/or ordinances for cell tower installations that provide the public with a clear  understanding of how applications are adjudicated? Are cell tower installations a source of revenue for cities and the County?

The recommendations of the Grand Jury are:

The 2011 San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury recommends to the County Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of all cities in San Mateo County the following:

1. Review and revise, if needed, the current fee structure to recoup staff costs for processing cell tower applications;

2. Negotiate lease agreements for future installations on public land that generate revenue or other tangible benefit to the  community;

3. Add cell tower maintenance and removal provisions if they are not already included in existing ordinances and lease agreements;

4. Require that all new lease agreements contain a provision requiring service providers to install newer technology as it becomes commercially available to reduce the footprint of cell towers; and

5. Develop a webpage within County and city websites which clearly posts local ordinances, policies and procedures as well as federal regulations related to cell tower installations.

The Grand Jury further recommends the City Councils of Daly City, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Portola Valley, and Woodside pursue new or amended leases for existing cell towers on public property that are not currently generating revenue or other community benefits.

To read the guts of the report, click here: 2011 San Mateo Civil Grand Jury Report on Municipal Wireless Siting Practices.



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