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tv   [untitled]    November 20, 2011 9:00pm-9:30pm PST

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they will be screened from view and painted to match. the equipment will be set back 30 feet from the roof edge, so as to be minimally visible from the street. supervisor mar: it is the building that is along sixth avenue, closer to the residential area, not the building closer to the geary commercial district? it is across the street from the police station? >> that is correct. we can put a -- put an image of the building on the overhead. as a reference, the city has five preferred location types as well as limited and disfavored pipes. this type is called a publicly used structure. it is the most highly preferred site for the city of san francisco. public facilities are most favored, in that they occur in
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every neighborhood and the appearance is typically institutional or infrastructure in nature, which is most compatible with these installations. under the adopted city policy, this site is exactly where we have told providers they should be locating. third, let us discuss the process. the planning commission and the department had a lot of guidance on revoking -- reviewing wireless facilities. in 1996, the board of supervisors passed a resolution on where we should locate these facilities. it emphasized that these should be the city's top preference for these facilities. the board said specifically these are most compatible and is likely to be visually destructive. the board resolution did seek clarification on some of the lower preference sites. in response, the planning commission revised the
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guidelines in august 1996, and updated them again in 2003. the guidelines contained not only preferences and locations, but mandate community outreach meetings be held for installations that need review an alternative analysis studies should be done one preferred sites cannot be used. that is not the case here. it also requires a plan which must be updated annually. that is the process that led to this being declared the most preferred site. other procedural reviews include aesthetic review by planning department and health review by the city department of public health. when it comes to aesthetics, this is an anomaly visible from the right of way. it should be painted, landscape, or screen architecturally. that is what happened here. the antennas are screened and painted.
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when it comes to health, the federal telecommunications act of 1996 established limits on review of wireless facilities. specifically, the law prohibited local jurisdictions from prohibiting on health concerns if they follow fcc guidelines. we go to great lengths to monitor installations, with an emphasis on exploring radiofrequency radiation. the department of health produces and the mission's report for every facility, evaluating existing emissions and proposed emissions with the proposed antennas. the same evaluation is conducted after the installation is installed to get a real reading and to monitor every two years thereafter. the guidelines cannot be exceeded and the facility would be shut down if they were. despite appellant arguments that there are conflicting arguments
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about health effects and impact, scientific studies have been clear. over 25,000 studies on the biological effects of r f -- rf have been published over 30 years. the largest cut 30,000 participants. after all the studies, our department of public health summarized a study as followed. scientific study does not support adverse health effects from radiation at levels below the fcc standard. between existing federal laws and regulations, the guidelines put in place by the board and commission, planning review is generally limited to is that the concerns. the main question we ask is whether the installation will have aesthetic impact. we regulate the visual impact with the see you -- the cu.
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we look at whether the proposed installation will be desirable and compatible with the neighborhood. that is the general process. now let us review the last topic of my presentation. it is a specific finding as to why we approved this cu. we found all the criteria were met. when it comes to desirability and compatibility, san francisco is a technological leader. it is important to maintain adequate telecommunication, including to keep up with changing increases in usage. this is a number one preferential site, the most desirable. the was misinformation irrelevant to the district. the antennas will be on the roof, painted to match the penthouse. they will be minimally visible from the public right of way,
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virtually indistinguishable from the existing penthouse. the commission found the project aesthetically compatible with the neighborhood. only two people spoke in opposition at the commission hearing. there was not the same outcry at that time. the planning commission, when they are reviewing wireless installations, consider to -- two issues. coverage -- san francisco does have adequate coverage. in this case, verizon has reported marginal coverage in this area. while they feel there is adequate coverage on the street, the report poor coverage inside of walls and buildings. -- instead of cars and buildings. supervisor mar: can i ask about necessity? you rely solely on verizon data, which is very vague? clearly, what was given to us --
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i think this is the major point of the appellants. it seemed you were relying solely on what verizon has given you. is there independent analysis by the planning department, or a third-party independent of being paid by verizon for the data? >> i will let the project sponsor speak to the viability of their own data. we do have the department of public health take readings in the neighborhood. the planning commission, like this body, have discretionary powers. like you are going to do tonight, they listen to the evidence, both written and verbal. they found the project to be desirable. that does not mean you will not come to a different conclusion. they are an appointed body, put in place to resolve these sorts of issues. they found the evidence compelling. supervisor mar: i am not questioning the hard work and
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specialism of our staff. i just wanted to ask a question that came up in the commons. the 1996 sighting guidelines -- i think a couple of people referred to lobbying efforts by the industry to make a change to section 8.1, location preferences, to include the line "where the installation complies with fcc regulations, hospitals should also be considered." can you give us some context for why that was added? if it is industry-promoted, designed to create more spaces that might have vulnerable people around it, that is problematic for me, if it is an industry effort as opposed to a public health policy we should be supporting as a city. >> in 1996, in spring, the
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planning commission adopted wireless setting guidelines. the board did review that document and requested certain changes to be made. the past irresolution in 1996 -- they passed a resolution in 1996. the board took exception with some of the lower disfavored sides and asked the commission to revise the guidelines for some of the lesser preferred sites. the commission adopted revised guidelines in the summer of 1996. i will continue, if there are no other questions to the chair. i think we are on capacity for the wireless network. in this case, the call failure maps demonstrate there are areas with more than 50 dropped calls
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per hour. the project sponsor will address their prediction for exceeding capacity more. this demand on capacity does not just affect data capacity. it also affects call capacity and dropped calls. the commission found it is necessary for san francisco to have adequate capacity at the site. the commission found the proposed facility would fill in gaps in coverage in the inner richmond district and provide necessary facilities for emergency transmissions in this area. as for whether the project is detrimental to health, safety, or convenience, antennas will commit frequency well within fcc regulations. specifically, the exposure level is less than 1%, below the fcc exposure limit, 400 times less
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than what would be allowed. this location may help improve public safety. horizon provides backup service for city emergency responders. the alert program, which notifies the public of emergencies based on text messaging, and a great deal of 911 calls are made of via cell phone. the commission found it was appropriate to approve the conditional use authorization. the department respectfully requests the bold up -- the board upholds the cu. supervisor cohen: >> thank you very much. i am curious to know if there are any suggestions you may have as to whether there are legislative remedies we as a body can think about. >> yes. the board in the past has made
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amendments to what sort of notice should be required for wireless antennas. the board has passed resolutions asking the planning commission to consider changing the sighting guidelines. it is completely within board authority to amend the planning code to establish further regulations. you could buy ordinance legislate where the preferred citing would be. this is a contentious issue, as you know, with appeals coming before you. if somebody wanted to tackle the issue and legislate it differently than how the commission has handled it, i am sure that would be appreciated. supervisor cohen: thank you. supervisor mar: i was going to ask ms. rogers if you could respond to the appellant's effort to get data at themselves -- that they
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themselves, documented in attachment a, which seem to show good coverage for horizon. i will say my coverage is spotty. it seems their data contradicts what the design engineer of verizon provided that you relied on. i wonder if you could respond to the other data that seems to neutralize the main data you used to say that was necessary. >> you are correct. this is new information that was not presented at the planning commission hearing. it was provided just last week. it is more your purview to evaluate the credibility of that, versus horizon. it was not at the commission hearing. president chiu: why don't we now hear from a representative from the project sponsor? you will have up to 10 minutes for your presentation.
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>> i will be using the light board. i am outside counsel for verizon wireless. it is a pleasure to appear before you. i have been representing horizon for 20 years. i was part of the preparation of the guidelines in 1996. there was no adverse industry input or attempt to skew the document, which was primarily driven by important and historic figures in san francisco. i appreciate the fact that the neighborhood has brought up most of our exhibits already. we respect their opinions and concerns about wireless service. wireless service has become ubiquitous. there are more cellular subscriptions in the united states than there are people.
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it has become important to our daily lives. i want to enlighten you about two issues. one is coverage versus capacity. the one you may not have focused on is the necessary, desirable, incompatible standard, versus a significant gap. let us get started. i do not think anybody has shown the actual site. this is the large industrial complex we want to put on top of the kaiser building on sixth avenue. you can barely see the antennas. they are on top of the mechanical penthouse. this is a preferable site on purpose. it is the tallest building in the area. the antennas to not face sixth avenue. they face north, west, and
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south, and provide coverage in those areas. there is a reason this is a preference one location. in terms of need, of horizon wireless coverage -- verizon wireless coverage is currently provided by three sites. verizon wireless readily admits it has marginal coverage in this area now. you can make a phone call on the sidewalk while standing still. we need this facility for two reasons. the community needs it for two reasons. we need infill and coverage in this area, because most calls are initiative from inside a building or a vehicle, and we need capacity. as i mentioned, there are three sites serving the area presently.
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this is the clayton site, st. mary's hospital. it is mb. that is the amount of data and voice going to the network. over time, the usage has doubled over the last year in the united states, in terms of megabytes and data. verizon is not alone in experience in this growth. by the end of the year, the site will reach a maximum capacity. it cannot handle any more traffic at busy hours. that is what this graphic shows. the adjacent sites at beacon and presidio will run out of capacity in august of next year and december of next year. it is like cars on a freeway. at 2 in the morning, you can drive a beautifully. a commuter our, you cannot get through. that is what the horizon is
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finding. that is demonstrated in the graphic we provided. it shows dropped calls in the vicinity. this slide shows dropped calls for one hour during the busy hour. this is the average of calls made during the last week of august. in those to block by six black areas, 50 calls per hour are being dropped. -- in those two-block by six- block areas, 50 calls per area -- per hour are being dropped. this will get worse as time goes on. if you have a smart phone, you know what i am talking about. you will have five cars and cannot make a call. or you go from one tower to the next and drop your call. i want to submit a rebuttals
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statement to the data provided. this is to respond to the data provided by the neighbors. i have to say that judge hamilton of san francisco in 2006 in a metro pc yes case we site in our brief said that anecdotal found a that is not scientific for showing a significant gap in coverage, as compared to the real-time data provided by cellular networks. it is not just me. it is judge hamilton in a san francisco case. this is data provided by appellants. it is stuck. everybody is standing still. it is with a free app you can get of the internet. it is not accurate. they do not measure capacity, which is our biggest problem.
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the measure data, not a voice. -- they measyre data -- measure data, not voice, and it is all outdoors. that covers need. verizon wireless truly needs this. we think the people of san francisco needed. we have submitted to you at package that has nearly 700 text messages, e-mails, letters, and petition signatures supporting this facility from people in the neighborhood who use their phones, need their phones, need their phones to work, neither funds to be reliable not today, but tomorrow. i have been going to these hearings for years. we get neighbors that show up and have concerns. you must understand there are hundreds of thousands of cell
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phone users in san francisco. 700 of them in the last week have signed up to say they need this facility. there is quite a bit of desire. it is necessary and desirable. in this packet, there is a letter from one of your former fire marshals, who used to one -- to run the 911 dispatch. he emphasized the need of cell phones 4911 service. we have a number of caribbean restaurants who say they need this for customers in buildings -- we have a number of delivery restaurants who say they need is for customers in buildings. we have been trying to put this in for three years. this is a preference one location. it is on an existing commercial medical building. if the doctors have a concern, you would think it would not want this on a building. this is a cluster of buildings that have wireless facilities.
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this is a perfect place to serve the inner richmond. the inner richmond has been a difficult place for companies to serve for quite some time. lastly, i wanted to enlighten you, if i could, about the difference between necessary, desirable, and compatible, and a significant gap. in terms of necessary to the community, we think we have provided you lots of letters to show the community wants this. in terms of significant gap, which for rise and wireless has to show, it is that they have the capacity or coverage gap which have shown you today. it is the equivalent of coverage gaps we have cited in our brief in federal cases. what i put down here is the agreement you all signed a few months ago. you agreed with the community it was not necessary. but the federal court realized
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there was a significant gap for t-mobile. because they had chosen a means to put that facility, your advisers encourage you to sign a settlement agreement to allow that to go forward. you can make your decision, but ultimately, federal law says that where we have a significant gap and have shown the preference one location -- in our materials, we also showed the other preference one locations -- you are compelled to avoid a ban of service. i leave you with those ideas. the capacity constraints are happening now. there will happen in the future. finally, a significant gap. we do provide robust information, more data than most. i know i do not get a rebuttal.
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i want to savor verizon wireless and other jurisdictions will agree to go to a third-party engineer to look at our data. president chiu: colleagues, any questions to the project sponsor? thank you. what we hear from members of the public that wish to speak on behalf of the project sponsor? >> my name is mark leech. i worked for aaa, which is located one block away. we had calls cut out using verizon. we also had a to drop. i have also experienced data drops down the street at the library on ninth avenue. these are places where our children go to school. we are san francisco, the no. 1
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tourist destination in the world. if these tourists come and look at us and cannot find where they are going, cannot find where the boat races are, how are we going to look at america's cup in 2013? the time is now to put our infrastructure together. we want to be the top in education. our citizens, even in the richmond, want their children to be at the top of the education pile. the only way they can do this is with information, technology. over 700 people wrote e-mails supporting these towers and the infrastructure. just over the last few days, we have collected several dozen more, which i would like to submit. back to where we were. we depend on tourists for business. if a tourist calls home and says, "i did not get your pictures because the data
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dropped," we are in a sorry state of affairs. thank you. >> my name is ron lee. i am here in favor of the cell phone antenna going up on the hospital. i want to stress that verizon, our disaster system is connected to this. it is important we have the system up in a more efficient manner. they by day, month by month, we have more demands than ever before because of the data packets. they are going to come up with 5g. it will demand more and more transmission. we have to be able to supply the transmission. i worked in telecommunications
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for 30 years. i am very familiar with antennas. i worked around and, as for many, many years. i am living proof that working on all of these cell sites, putting on these lines -- i never got sick. nothing ever happened to me. today, the new antennas are not ionizing. there are very low amounts of radiation. it is so nominal, sometimes even a microwave will limit -- emit more radiation than 8 cell phone antenna. let me tell you about batteries. all telecommunications systems have a backup battery. they have been around for many, many years. they are proven to be safe. they are necessary, especially
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in an emergency. thank you so much. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> good afternoon. as a resident of the richmond district and a wireless customer, i support construction of additional antennas. in addition to using my cell phone for telephone calls, i also use it for web browsing and access to e-mail. i know that more antennas are needed to support increasing demand, more than just for verizon customers affected by call quality. verizon is among the largest phone companies in san francisco, so many people are affected when they call other users. even if it is not your cellphone company, could sell phone service is essential to our
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city and safety to people like me. most 911 calls now come from cell phones. many families do not have a landline phone anymore. i hope you will support the project. thank you for your time. >> good afternoon. i am a consultant to the project and helped with some of the outreach aspects. sitting here today, i recalled a book i read about elfin -- alvin tofler, called "third wave." the first was agriculture in the country, and there was resistance to the change. we moved into the industrial revolution. there was resistance to the change. we moved into information technology. there will be resistance to the change. further