Antenna notification not economic threat for S.F.

Providing the public with notice that a micro-antenna is slated for installation within a neighborhood would not have a significant negative impact on The City’s economy, the cellular company hoping to install the facility or consumer rates for cellular service, according to a report released by the City Controller’s Office on Friday.

The Economic Impact Report was generated in response to a proposed ordinance, authored by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, that would apply the same public review processes for those seeking building permits to companies who wish to put new wireless telecommunications equipment up. According to planning code, that would include notification to all residents and owners of residential and neighboring properties within 150 feet of the area, as well as notification to neighborhood groups. Members of the public could then ask the Planning Commission to review the installation request.

City staff estimated that the cost of public noticing and the potential delays would amount to less than $5,000 per facility, calling the cost, “sufficiently small” compared with the revenues generated by each cellular site.

“It will not deter businesses from installing WTS [wireless telecommunications services] facilities,” the report concludes, adding, “Moreover, because the major wireless communications carriers set their prices and level of service nationally, the cost increases will not be passed on to San Francisco consumers as higher prices.”

The economic report also echoes an assertion made by the Federal Communications Commission that, despite ongoing concerns expressed about the health effects of WTS facilities, “no studies appear to show any scientific link between WTS and risks to human health.”

Peskin said he’s not so sure. “I’ve been around long enough to know that the tobacco industry said cigarettes are not harmful, and the pharmaceutical industry said certain drugs weren’t harmful, when the opposite turned out to be true,” he said.

There are 600 WTS facilities installed within The City, according to the report, with 200 more in the planning process.

beslinger@examiner.com

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