In Search of An Alternative Radio Tower Location

flyer_tower1b-refine2.jpgby Matt Williams –

The third agenda item on Thursday’s Yolo County Planning Commission was a public hearing for Results Radio’s application for a use permit for a 335 foot tall radio tower on Mace Boulevard, three quarters of a mile south of Montgomery on agricultural land zoned A-1, which means the land should only be used for agriculture. 

Because Results Radio had officially asked for a continuance, County Council told the Commissioners that the only decision they could legally make was to continue the hearing until a later date.  Before they made that decision, the Commissioners heard Staff’s report on the application, as well as testimony from the applicant, the public, and Bill Abbott the land use lawyer engaged by some of the members of the Southeast Davis Coalition that formally opposes the application.  After the testimony each Commissioner made comments and gave the applicant guidance.  The continuance was officially until March.

I’m not going to go into the details of what the Planning Commission heard.  That has been covered well here in the Vanguard and in both articles and letters to the Editor in the Enterprise.  What I am going to discuss is what the options are going forward.

My sense is that the Commissioners heard the public comments loud and clear. Commissioner Richard Reed (who represents the same Davis-based district as Supervisor Jim Provenza) said the Yolo County Landfill alternative site for the tower presented by the Southeast Davis Coalition in their testimony, “looked like a credible alternative,” and that he needed to “be convinced that there’s absolutely no other place this would work.”

Results Radio’s Chief Technical Officer told the Commission he would work on the possibility of the Landfill alternative, but he also went to great lengths to emphasize his desire to continue to work with the neighbors of the site proposed in the application.   One has to wonder how much real commitment there is to an alternative site (that has no neighbors nearby) when you say, “I will meet with anyone anywhere. I’ll meet in front of large groups of people; I’ll meet individually over coffee; I’ll go to people’s homes.”  Bottom-line, Castro’s words lead me to believe that this battle is not over,

“Where do we go from here?”

There are implications for all Davis-area activist groups who have opposed, or will oppose business-based land use proposals in that simple question.  The reason is simple.  Depending on how Results Radio chooses to work on the alternative, there is a very good possibility that when the Planning Commission next places this item on its agenda, Mr. Castro will step to the podium and explain to the Commission that, despite all his best efforts, the FCC will not approve locating the tower on the Landfill.  The conundrum for the Commission and the public is trying to decide if Results Radio has truly put forth its best efforts in asking the FCC for its approval.

Should activist groups have to “do the heavy lifting” for the business?  In this case there is no question that there are significant public benefits associated with relocating Results Radio’s broadcast tower from Sutter Buttes to Yolo County.  KDVS would be able to better serve its UCD audience.  The Yolo Emergency Communications Agency could improve emergency broadcast quality for police, fire and disaster communications for a huge proportion of Yolo County residents.  All the desired objectives can be achieved at a Landfill site, but only if Results Radio truly puts forth its best efforts with the FCC.

To make this into a true win-win for all parties, the Southeast Davis Coalition may need to research the FCC location issues for the Landfill site and address any compliance challenges that may arise.  In many ways this could end up being like the recent FEMA flood zone situation, where private citizens getting expert help supports a better decision.  However, I’m not truly knowledgeable enough about the FCC to even hiccup, much less make recommendations.  How best to proceed in this specific issue, will be discussed during the next Southeast Davis Coalition meeting.  Who bears the cost of the FCC-specific research will also be discussed.

Many Davis land use activist groups may well be facing similar meetings in the coming months and years as they step forward with opposition to land use proposals that are focused on a particular end-result the way Results Radio appears to be.  One would hope that well researched information will be available to support a decision in the best interests of Davis, but that may not always be the case.


About The Author

Matt Williams has been a resident of Davis/El Macero since 1998. Matt is a past member of the City's Utilities Commission, as well as a former Chair of the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC), former member of the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC), former member of the Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF), as well as Treasurer of Davis Community Network (DCN). He is a past Treasurer of the Senior Citizens of Davis, and past member of the Finance Committee of the Davis Art Center, the Editorial Board of the Davis Vanguard, Yolo County's South Davis General Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, the Davis School District's 7-11 Committee for Nugget Fields, the Yolo County Health Council and the City of Davis Water Advisory Committee and Natural Resources Commission. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell University and his MBA is from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent over 30 years planning, developing, delivering and leading bottom-line focused strategies in the management of healthcare practice, healthcare finance, and healthcare technology, as well municipal finance.

Related posts


  1. Don Shor

    Again, there are a couple of dozen radio antennae in Solano County east of Dixon.
    Voice of America, the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility, migrant worker housing, and farmland are in the area.

  2. Rich Rifkin

    How about just redesigning the radio tower to look exactly like a replica of the Statue of Liberty? That way, it would serve both a practical and an aesthetic function. Tourists from Rio Vista, Freeport, Saxon, El Rio Villa, Citrona and parts beyond would pack up their families and come to see the West Coast version of Lady Liberty. They could stop by and visit the Harris-Moran Seed Co. & the Campbell’s Soup research facility. They could purchase some vinyl fencing at Sierra Sod. They could pitch some horseshoes at Grasslands Park. And they could have a picnic lunch at the Tremont Cemetery. Emma Lazarus would be proud of Davis. [quote]Here at our tomato-washed, irrigated fields shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Daytrippers. From her beacon-hand
    Glows a regional welcome; her mild eyes command
    The flat savannah that El Macero does frame.
    “Keep, Wintun lands, your Putah Creek!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your uptight, your middle-class,
    Your Hybrid yuppies yearning to drive free,
    The bulging waistline of your teeming ass.
    Send these, the McMansioned, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden crass!” [/quote]

  3. Matt Williams

    Don, the fatal flaw with that location may well be its spacing distance from other radio towers that broadcast with frequencies close to (by FCC definitions) KMJE’s 101.5 frequency.

    According to information on the FCC website, the tower location must be 113 kilometers from KIOI’s tower in San Francisco. The Landfill is approximately 118 kilometers from KIOI. I’m afraid the distance from the Landfill to the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility site is considerably more than 5 kilometers. Similarly, the tower location needs to be 96 kilometers from KXFX’s tower in Santa Rosa. The Landfill is approximately 101 kilometers. Here again the distance from the Landfill to your proposed site more than likely puts it under the 96 kilometer spacing. Its possible that that site also would have insufficient spacing from KAMB in Merced.

  4. Matt Williams

    Rich, I think you may have hit on a strategy for the Covell Partners . . . place a Mount Rushmore replica sculpture on their property as part of their plan for the senior facility. It will be both a tourist attraction and a reminder that our craggy faces (as we get older) are only just so craggy when compared to Lincoln’s.

  5. Rich Rifkin

    Matt, that is almost what former dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines did. However, I was told many of his enemies ended up using the giant Marcos head for target practice. So the Philippines army had to guard the monument.


  6. Rich Rifkin

    After Marcos was ousted, the army no longer protected his giant head. And so this is what became of it:


Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for