According to the staff report, in May of 2007, an application was submitted to construct and operate a cell tower north of Covell Blvd between County Road 99 and State Route 113. The tower would be roughly 120 feet high.
The County Planning Commission approved the conditional use permit for the construction and operation of the facility northwest of Davis.
According to the Staff Report:
“The Planning Commission approved the project with a 3-2 vote at the September 13, 2007 hearing, with additions to the Conditions of Approval to include an eight-foot sound wall. The Planning Commission’s approval was based on findings that the project is consistent with the requirements set forth in the Yolo County Wireless Communication Facility Conditional Use Permit Review Criteria (Yolo County Code Section 8-2.2417) and related local ordinance requirements. Three nearby landowners subsequently appealed the project on September 28, 2007. One of the landowners has since withdrawn his name from the appeal.”
The appeal has three components based on CEQA issues: aesthetics, noise, and land use conflicts. The Planning Commission had originally ruled that the project would have less than significant impact on the environment. Nearby landowners are claiming that this ruling fails to identify potentially significant impacts from aesthetics and noise. The Office of County Counsel believes that these impacts were in fact adequately discussed and that Planning Commission had carried out their duties properly.
Nevertheless, staff recommends denial of the conditional use permit and reevaluation on January 15, 2008.
“Community opposition has increased since the Planning Commission granted the requested conditional use permit. Among other things, many residents and property owners have expressed aesthetic concerns about the proposed tower – a 110-foot tall structure in an otherwise flat, agricultural area that would be easily visible to nearby residents. In addition, staff is not persuaded that the applicant has meaningfully evaluated alternative sites and system designs that could be visually less intrusive. However, as with any appeal of a Planning Commission decision, the Board of Supervisors reviews the entire matter independently and can consider issues not specifically raised by the appellants.”
A number of the property owners in the Northwest Quadrant protested that the cell tower location would interfere with the best use of their property. According to one resident, at least six neighboring property owners protest this location.
Residents also suggest that there are alternative locations for the tower that were under-explored. One such location would be the Sutter Davis Hospital that has apparently offered a location on their property, within the city of Davis limits. This location would accomplish the same coverage as the other location, apparently without the kinds of objections that are currently occurring in the Northwest Quadrant.
The bottom line in this issue appears to be that one property owner has offered up his or her property for the construction of the tower and the neighbors are objecting. The Board of Supervisors meets today to discuss this issue.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting