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Burbank Leader

Burbank's much ballyhooed cell tower ordinance to take effect

1:21 PM PST, January 10, 2013

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The ordinance allowing cell towers in public right-of-ways in Burbank will go into effect next month, the City Council decided Tuesday.

While the ordinance requires wireless companies to obtain an encroachment permit to install a tower, it gives facilities that collect customer meter data a six-month exemption.

That means the Southern California Gas Company the green-light to build five new poles with meter equipment in residential neighborhoods. The new poles will likely be installed next month at 1322 Griffith Park Dr., 1040 Fairview St., 2215 Niagra St., 1100 Sixth St. and 1405 Country Club Road., according to utility spokesman Tony Tartaglia.

Over the last couple weeks, residents near the proposed poles were notified and given one last chance Tuesday to object.

A small clan of “Save Burbank Neighborhoods” members voiced their opposition to the new poles and more lenient regulations, but the pack was nowhere near the droves that successfully protested the proposed T-Mobile tower on top of the Little White Chapel.

Tuesday marked the fourth time in just three-and-a-half months that the cell tower issue has surfaced on the City Council agenda. Even so, it’s not over yet.

City officials have promised residents a study session with a cell tower policy expert to explore the feasibility of implementing their suggestions, which include equipment disclosure, time limits on permits and increased public noticing.

Who the city will hire to run the session has been a point of contention.

Council members who mentioned bringing back Jonathan Kramer of the Kramer Telecom Law Firm were faced with heavy opposition from residents who felt the attorney was sympathetic to the industry. The city hired Kramer in 2010 as a consultant for the cell tower ordinance.

“We feel maybe our best interests aren’t his best interests,” said Michael Moynahan, donning a “Save Burbank Neighborhoods” T-shirt.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.