After a drawn-out discussion on whether to approve AT&T plans for new wireless antennas to be located at 1035 San Pablo Ave., planning commissioners voted Tuesday night to deny the application.
Commissioners said the constraints of Albany's municipal code would not allow them to approve either of the two options presented by staff related to the antenna application.
The were unanimous in their decision; Commissioner David Arkin recused himself from the discussion because he lives near the project area.
The denial won't be final until the , when commissioners will review written findings prepared by city staff to support their decision.
Staff suggested three possible routes of action for commissioners Tuesday night. There was no staff recommendation about which might be the preferred avenue.
The first involved approving the project as it was proposed, and including a condition to move the majority of the antenna equipment into a penthouse on the roof of 1035 San Pablo.
The second involved approving the project as it was proposed and including a condition that would ensure all AT&T equipment on the roof stood less than six feet tall.
Each option would be approved under a different part of the municipal code, and would have different requirements about how much of the rooftop could be occupied by equipment. (Both codes limit the amount of rooftop development that is allowed.)
The main sticking point was a 10-foot-tall enclosure covering about 20 square feet that would house three antennas.
Commissioners said Tuesday that, in the first case, the enclosure wouldn't be allowable because it would lead to too much rooftop coverage. In the second case, the enclosure would be considered too tall.
City staff said after the April 24 meeting that they had been under the impression following commissioner guidance given in the that one or both options for approval would be consistent with the municipal code.
Members of the public spoke passionately both for and against the application during the public comment period.
At various points, Chairman Leo Panian had to call the crowd to order, and ask the public to reign it in.
"We know what the facts are," he said. "We've been sitting here for several years dealing with it."
Panian said, no matter what the commission decided, the ultimate verdict would likely come from .
Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for updates on cell phone issues in Albany. Read more on Albany Patch about the AT&T application here.
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