Can You Hear Me Now?

cell-phone-zone732At the last Nevada City Planning Commission meeting, it was pointed out (once again) that the proposed Verizon tower on Friar Tuck’s could not be rejected for reasons of health. That didn’t prevent numerous citizens from complaining about the potential dangers of brain-eating electromagnetic rays. One citizen even predicted that someday in the future, cell phone users would be corralled like smokers to limit the range of invisible death rays. (The PC did reject the tower, but on architectural grounds, citing the historical district ordinance.)

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2 Responses to Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. Michael Anderson says:

    Yeah, that was a fine kettle of fish. Having participated in the process since the first Architectural Review meeting on January 21st, 2016, I think I am qualified to offer an opinion on how this whole thing went sideways.
    First, the NC Planning Commission voted to put the Architectural Review before the Use Permit, since the Architectural Review seemed like that would be the most difficult sticking point. I agreed that this decision made the most sense at the time. The Architectural Review passed 5-0 at the March 17th, 2016, meeting. The CEQA Negative Declaration also passed 5-0 at a special meeting shortly thereafter.
    Second, once the agendized Use Permit opened the Public Comment process, the well-organized anti-cell-antenna coalition was able to capitalize on the lack of an organized opposition to their point of view.
    Third, for various reasons the scientific, logistical, economic, and aesthetic aspects of the project were largely confused, which resulted, obviously enough, in a lot of confusion.
    Fourth, the Planning Commission passed the torch to three new members at the August 18th, 2016, meeting. While I thought the new members did a good job of reviewing certain aspects of the information from past meetings, based on their comments, there seemed to be holes in some of the members’ understanding of what had transpired since January 21st.
    On the whole, the experience was a wake-up call to those of use who depend on technology in Nevada County that some of our fellow citizens need a comprehensive quick-start course in how the modern world works, as well as an easy list that clearly spells out which technologies are potentially dangerous vs. those that have a proven track record of safety.
    All in all, my experience was positive and I think a majority of the two sets of NC planning commissioners did a thorough and conscientious review of the project. Some members, however, were not conscientious and thorough enough, allowing their personal biases to influence their decisions. That needs to change going forward.

  2. Chris Peterson says:

    So, for years the phone companies have had the ability to make cell phone towers appear as trees. You mean to tell me that they’re unable to make one look like a part of a building in an historical district? Why is it no one seems to have asked them to come up with an architectural concept that fits the site?

    Just Google camouflaged cell phone tower photos; you name it, it’s already been done elsewhere. I seriously doubt that the Friar Tuck building would present any challenge to their abilities.

    More likely this vote was just a cover for people’s fear of the technological voodoo, or those who believe a historical district means you must also use historical thinking when in that zone. “What would a tommyknocker do?” is not going to help you keep up with the world around you.

    Think Westworld, and use 21st century imagination, not 19th century banality.

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