Yakima may extend moratorium on cellphone tower construction [Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.]
(Yakima Herald-Republic (WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 01--The Yakima City Council is considering whether to extend its current moratorium on the construction of new cellphone towers and substantially altering existing ones.
The six-month moratorium, which is set to expire Oct. 1, was enacted in April after some residents of the Barge-Chestnut neighborhood raised concerns about a proposed tower near the neighborhood and Yakima's weak design standards for the structures.
Since then, city staff has been working with residents and telecommunications industry representatives to revise the city's standards.
The Planning Commission is reviewing the latest draft, and recently asked City Council to extend the moratorium through the end of the year.
But O'Rourke is recommending a two-month extension to Dec. 1.
"We just need to wrap it up. We're not reinventing the wheel," he said.
The council will consider an extension when it meets Tuesday.
Yakima's current codes don't provide clear direction for approving or denying applications for new towers or modifying existing ones.
Without clarity, there's concern that the city could make an arbitrary decision on a cell tower application that could be then open to legal challenge.
Under the current codes, applications for towers up to 35 feet tall are only reviewed by city staff for approval or denial. For towers up to 55 feet tall, the city must notify nearby property owners. The public can submit comments, but city codes don't give clear direction as to what to do with those comments.
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