Just as some some parents and residents in the Walnut Heights elementary school neighborhood are protesting the erection of a wireless antenna near the school's playing fields and nature area, AT&T is asking the City of Walnut Creek to allow it to build a 28-foot "monopole" wireless antenna, "disguised as a broadleaf tree" at the intersection of San Luis Road and Keaveny Court.
The specific site for the tower is the grounds of St. Stephen's Catholic Church.
Hmm, is there something about organizations, like public schools and churches, looking for ways to earn some extra revenue? In these tough economic times? I know the school district, like many other public school districts, is really struggling with ongoing state budget cuts. I have also read various articles about how Catholic church membership is declining in the United States and Western Europe. I would assume a decline in membership might hurt the Church's bottom line in America--though maybe St. Stephen's is a thriving parish.
Anyway, Walnut Creek's Community Development Department recommends that the Planning Commission--whose members will hear about the proposal next Thursday evening--give it a thumbs up.
Development Department staff members say the proposal meets the city's various legal requirements for the constructon of wireless antennas in the city, including those encoded in the General Plan.
For example, planners say the proposed antenna:
--won't be located within 100 feet of a major ridgeline.
--will have a non-reflective finish ... it will, planners say, be built to look like a tree (?).
--won't have artificial lighting, or be accessible to the general public, including mischievious Walnut Creek kids who would tag it with graffiti.
--will, most importantly, not pose any health risk to the public. According to planners, the application submitted indicated that "the radio frequency output does not exceed FCC standards for Maximum Permissible Exposures."
Read more about the St. Stephen's Catholic Church wireless proposal to the city here.
You can also catch up with the ongoing debate about the Walnut Heights antenna proposal by reading this story in the Contra Costa Times. In fact, according to the Times' Elisabeth Nardi, some 100 people showed up at a meeting that the Walnut Creek School District hosted Wednesday evening. Apparently, those people wanted to voice their concerns about the proposed 37-foot antenna tower at Walnut Heights:
At a sometimes raucous meeting this week, Walnut Creek parents likened the antenna, which would emit radio waves 24 hours a day, to a "science experiment."
"I don't want my kids used as an experiment," said John Johnson. "Wi-Fi is not that important."It will be interesting to see what feelings and opinions this other wireless antenna proposal provokes...