Following emotional pleas both for and against a new cell antenna set-up planned by AT&T for a rooftop at 1035 San Pablo Ave., city planning commissioners asked for a design change in the plans to make them comply with city code.
City staff had of the Feb. 28 application by AT&T to install a new wireless facility including nine new rooftop antennas on a San Pablo building near Marin Avenue.
After hearing from AT&T and members of the public, several members of the planning commission said they just weren't sure the plans worked with existing municipal codes primarily related to rooftop development.
The code outlines rules for how much development is allowed on top of buildings, and ranges from 10 to 20 percent of acceptable rooftop usage, depending on height and equipment type.
The 1035 San Pablo Ave. building already includes a penthouse structure, Sprint wireless equipment and a range of other mechnical boxes.
City staff said, depending on the way the used space is calculated, the addition of three sets of AT&T wireless antennas on the roof either would or would not be allowable.
Staff recommended one theory commissioners could endorse to accept the plans as they were submitted for Tuesday's meeting, but some city zoning panelists said they weren't convinced.
Only four commissioners were involved in the discussion as a fifth, David Arkin, lives too close to the proposed tower site to legally participate.
Ultimately, the commission asked AT&T to see if the company could place some of its proposed equipment inside an existing penthouse structure to ensure that the rooftop isn't overly built out.
The room at issue is being used as a meeting space and a sort of clubhouse, though historical plans on file with the city indicate it originally was approved as a space to hold mechanical equipment.
City staff said it was important to note that not all of the antenna equipment could be placed inside the room, because that would make it too close, under Albany's munipal wireless code, to some nearby residences.
The commission did not set a new hearing date for the matter, but staff suggested the item may return before them in March.
Read more about mobile phone issues in Albany here. See a PDF including live tweets of the meeting attached to this story, and watch a video of the meeting here on KALB 33.
If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at email@example.com.
See the Planning & Zoning Commission . Scroll down to click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for alerts when we write about wireless issues in Albany.