Special Council meeting on Monday to consider telecom giant’s scheme
The self-styled progressive leaders of Arcata are going into round two of their discussions with a multinational telecommunications behemoth over their proposal to erect cell phone communication facilities on top of the Humboldt Crabs home field.
A special City Council meeting will be held bright and early at 9 a.m. on Monday morning to debate the original plan by Verizon, which would cast mere chicken feed at municipal coffers — only $1,000 a month rent for the right to build huge towers looming over the Arcata Ball Park.
Councilmembers voted 4-1, with Vice Mayor Shane Brinton dissenting, to continue negotiations with Verizon and include other wireless cellular communications firms to see about the possibility of co-locating facilities. Before voting no, Brinton had successfully amended the motion to include public access television non-profit Access Humboldt in the communications loop to see if public facilities and management could also play a role.
The City’s Parks and Recreation Commission also chimed in ahead of Monday’s hearing; they met two weeks ago to lay out a laundry list of their concerns with the various drafts of where Verizon’s equipment might land.
“Who has identified the coverage needs for this area and how is it determined that this is the best location to serve these needs,” asked Commission chair Nancy Starck in her letter to the Council. “Is the coverage provided by this location already serviced by other locations or can this eliminate other locations by providing better coverage?”
In one of their seven recommendations, the Parks and Recreation Commission echoed the call for a significant public benefit project such as those promoted by Access Humboldt — whether this would be a free wireless Internet connection for the downtown area or access to the Verizon network for government, educational and public access media has yet to be specified.
Lisa Brown, who testified to the Council that no more cell phone towers should be built anywhere in the city due to electromagnetic frequency pollution concerns, is expected to return with other techno-critics in force to demand that the Council follow their own General Plan, which mandates that no towers are built within 1,000 feet of a residence or historic district.