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August 28 City Council meeting

Update as of November 7, 2019

The Elk Grove City Council did a somewhat good job on August 28, 2019 when it passed ordinance 19-2019 amending our zoning code, part of our municipal code, regarding the permitting of cell antennas. 
The best parts of that zoning code amendment are the ones that prohibit cell antennas immediately adjacent to or across the street from a residential front yard and that require at least 500′ between any 2 cell antennas.  Here they are from the final version of the ordinance.

23.94.050 Development standards.
A. General Development Standards. Unless otherwise exempt pursuant to EGMC
Section 23.94.040, Exemptions, or as otherwise provided in an agreement approved by
the Elk Grove City Council pursuant to EGMC Section 23.94.035, Small Cell Wireless
Communications Facilities, the following general development standards shall apply to all
wireless communications facilities:

6. In a residential zoning district, the following development standards shall apply,
unless the applicant can demonstrate with substantial evidence satisfactory to the
approving authority that such siting limitation will materially inhibit personal
wireless service as to a particular small cell wireless communication facility.
a. No small cell wireless communication facility shall be placed within fivehundred (500’ 0”) feet of another small cell wireless communications facility.
b. No small cell wireless communication facility shall be located
immediately adjacent to, nor immediately across the street from, a front yard
of any residential dwelling.

Here is the signed version of City of Elk Grove Ordinance No. 19-2019, which approved a new cell antenna policy which includes zoning code amendments and a master license agreement between the City and AT&T / Cingular. You can download it from this page.

The reason this is only somewhat good is that the City created a loophole that the wireless companies can use to circumvent the front yard rule.  Section 23.94.050 A.6. contains a convoluted and confusing (and confused) loophole that says the front yard rule and the 500′ spacing rule will not apply if the rule, as applied to any specific proposed cell antenna location, “will materially inhibit personal wireless service as to a particular small cell wireless communication facility.”  This is unnecessary.  The last 9 words should be omitted.  This is the work of our City Attorney, attempting to make the Elk Grove zoning code comply with the FCC Order 18-133, which talks about “materially inhibiting” cell phone service.  However that order does not say what this new section of code says.  Also, as I have told the City Council and staff this caveat will apply in every case, to every proposed cell antenna, because obviously when the City denies a cell antenna permit application they have materially inhibited cell phone service to that antenna. That’s why this is a loophole. They do not get this.  

You can read them in the Elk Grove Municipal Code here:!/ElkGrove23/ElkGrove2394.html#23.94.050

In my conversations a few weeks ago with the assistant city attorney and the planner whose project this was both of them described a policy that makes sense but is NOT what the zoning code amendment describes. That policy says that there will be location preferences and an applicant will have to justify why a given proposed cell antenna should be permitted in a less preferred location. There are no location preferences in the new zoning code amendment.

In case you weren’t there and want to watch it the public comments on the City of Elk Grove’s new cell antenna policy start at 2:13:50 of the meeting video.

My public comments started at 2:37:43 of the meeting video. 

Our local newspaper, the Elk Grove Citizen, published my guest opinion.

Here is the previous message on this subject.
The Elk Grove City Council will have a hearing, public comments, discussion and a vote on the new cell antenna policy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

6:00 P.M.

Elk Grove City Hall

8400 Laguna Palms Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758

City Council Chambers

The agenda for the meeting is here:

You can also download it from this site

The staff report, containing the proposed zoning code amendment and master licensing agreement with AT&T / Cingular, is here:

You can also download it from this site

The staff report is a monster, 262 pages.    The whole thing consists of:
City Council staff report, pages 1-18
Ordinance, pages 19-22
Exhibit A – Project Description, page 23
EXHIBIT B, Zoning Code Amendments, pages 24-35
Attachment 2, a Resolution, pages 36-37
Exhibit A – Master Licensing Agreement with AT&T / Cingular with exhibits, pages 38-71
Planning Commission staff report, pages 72-86
Attachment 1, Planning Commission Draft Resolution, pages 87-89
Exhibit A – Project Description, page 90
Exhibit B- Proposed Amendments to Title 23 (Zoning), pages 91-105
Exhibit C- Draft Master Licensing Agreement, pages 106-139
Attachment 2, letters from residents, pages 140-260
City of Elk Grove – City Council, NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING, pages 261-262