Opponents of a 365-foot radio tower, that in September 2010 the Yolo County Board of Supervisors approved to be located at the county landfill, argue such communications towers kill millions of birds annually.
In an Op-ed published in the Davis Enterprise, Eileen Samitz, Pam Nieberg and Alan Pryor wrote, “The proposed tower, at 365 feet, will be taller than the Statue of Liberty. This massive structure will be 30 feet at its base and have three extremely bright white strobe lights (one at the top and two at the 200 foot level).”
They add, “Wildlife experts have concluded that because the proposed tower is located in the heavily-used Pacific Flyway adjacent to the Davis Wetlands Project and the Vic Fazio Wildlife Area, the disorienting effects of the strobe lights on birds would cause unacceptable bird deaths due to numerous bird collisions.”
And worse yet, they add, “To add insult to injury, Results Radio wants to locate their visual and environmental blight in Yolo County, but move their offices and jobs to Sacramento!”
Back in 2009, a proposed radio tower, which was originally to be located to the south of Davis, was shifted to the Yolo County Landfill after landowner and stakeholder objections. In September of 2010, the Board of Supervisors, over the objections of Davis residents, approved the radio tower at the landfill location.
At that time, the redevelopment agency determined that the new radio tower would not be in conflict with the city-county pass-through agreement.
However, the council at that time opposed the project. The county would ultimately approve the project, “that incorporated the City’s design comments to reduce impacts to biological resources (e.g. elimination of guy-wires, revised pole design from a lattice structure to monopole, and improved tower lighting), but did not address the comments on the location of the tower.”
The Davis City Council will take this matter up on Tuesday. City Staff makes four recommendations.
First, they recommend the council “reconfirm the March 2010 Redevelopment Agency determination that the proposed new radio tower is ‘urban development’ under the Pass-Through Agreement, but that the project would not interfere with the intent of the agreement and there are no objections to the proposal from the Redevelopment Agency.”
Second, for the city council they recommend the council determine that “the proposed project for the new radio tower is consistent with the rural nature of the agricultural buffer area between roads 27 and 29.”
However, at the same time, they say to argue that “despite improvements in the project design, the proposed project is inconsistent with the US Fish and Wildlife Services’ communication tower locational guidelines and will create a potential bird strike hazard due to the close proximity to wildlife habitat areas and bird migratory routes.”
Finally, the city staff will direct City Manager Steve Pinkerton “to submit a letter to Yolo County Board of Supervisors restating its 2010 comments on the proposed tower and recommending that the Board not support an extension of the permit to construct the tower, based on the potential impacts to biological resources associated with its proposed location.”
In their op-ed, the authors note, “But now, despite strong opposition from environmental groups including the Yolo Audubon Society, Tuleyome, and the Sierra Club Yolano group, as well as numerous Davis residents, they are back for a second try at the landfill.”
“After apparently gaming the FCC regulatory process, they quietly flew a FCC reapplication in under the radar, and are now seeking discretionary approval from the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to renew their expired building permit,” they write.
This hearing will be held at 9 am on Tuesday, December 13th in Woodland.
Supervisor Matt Rexroad, who is the current chair of the board, informed the Vanguard that he has received a large amount of communications on this issue – all of them are opposed to the project.
In advance of the December 13, 2011 meeting, the Council now needs to send a strong message to Yolo County, according to the op-ed authors, “that this proposed tower is unacceptable anywhere near Davis.”
They urge council opposition on six grounds:
1) The Open Space and Habitat Commission has passed a resolution opposing this enormous tower and any future towers near the wetlands.
2) It violates the historic “Greenline” Memorandum of Understanding between Davis, Woodland, and Yolo County which calls for the exclusion of all urban uses between County Roads 27 and 29.
3) It violates the Pass-Through Agreement between Davis and Yolo County which gives the city the authority to exclude urban uses within the Davis sphere-of-influence (which includes the landfill).
4) It violates Federal guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the location of towers to minimize wildlife impacts, which state that towers “should not be sited in or near wetlands, other known bird concentration areas (e.g., State or Federal refuges, staging areas, rookeries), in known migratory or daily movement flyways, or in habitat of threatened or endangered species. Towers should not be sited in areas with a high incidence of fog, mist, and low ceilings.”
5) It would create highly intrusive visual blight that will ruin the agricultural vistas and dark skies throughout the entire area.
6) It would cause huge quality-of-life impacts to all the surrounding farms and residences along the north and northeast edge of the city.
“Davis has invested a tremendous amount of effort and resources in protecting both the agricultural heritage and the natural environment and habitat around the outskirts of the city,” they write. “If Yolo County is allowed to advance the proposed Results Radio tower, it would make a mockery of these many efforts.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting