Supervisors to decide antennas fight

At the top of the hill in Bernal Heights, a site owned and operated by American Tower Corporation, includes one equipment building and one 50-foot-tall telecommunications tower that currently has 62 antennas.

The antennas are used by a number of tenants, including T-Mobile and The City itself.

The owner intends to install five “Internet exchange switch antennas” on the existing tower as part of a system operated by Clearwire. These additional antennas measure from 1-foot to 2½-feet in diameter.

Erick Arguello, president of the Lower 24th Street Merchant Association, has appealed the Planning Department’s findings that the proposal does not require an environmental review, a state required study of the impacts of a project if the project is thought to have a significant impact on its surroundings.

“Should these point-to-point microwave dishes lose alignment due to an earthquake or other damage to the structures to which they are attached, these highly directional beams may result in members of the public being exposed to radiation levels in excess of FCC exposure guidelines,” the appeal says.

A Department of Public Health review of the proposal concluded “it would have no adverse health effects if operated in compliance with the FCC-adopted health and safety standards.”

Existing radio frequency levels at the ground level are less than 1 percent of the FCC public exposure limit, according to a Planning Commission report.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to approve the proposal. If the Board of Supervisors rejects the appeal Tuesday the project can move forward as planned.

The 50-foot tower itself was approved by the Planning Commission back in 1960.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

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