City Council Will Consider Telecommunications Master Plan, Downtown Plan

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Monday June 08, 2009 - 02:42:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council will consider creating a Wireless Telecommunications Master Plan Tuesday night. But with the budget stretched and planning staff busy with other major projects, this one may be put on the back burner. 

The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Old City Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in downtown Berkeley. 

The placement of cellphone towers has been a subject of major contention in Berkeley for several years now, and councilmembers and citizen groups have been asking for an overall plan that outlines where such facilities are located in the city, and a plan for where they be placed in the future. 

But with the Planning Department estimating as much as $300,000 in technical and outside legal assistance and up to $250,000 in city staff costs to put together such a plan, the council will have to bump this project ahead of other priorities if such a Telecommunications Master Plan project is to move forward in the near future. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council will take its third look at one of those other priorities, the Downtown Area Plan (DAP), which, when adopted, will set city development, environmental, and transit priorities in the downtown area for the foreseeable future. The council is considering two alternate plans—one created by the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC), the second revised from the DAPAC plan by the Berkeley Planning Commission—with the likely outcome that the final adopted plan will contain some elements of both. The council is projecting final passage of the DAP on July 7. 

The council will also continue its ongoing hearings on the new city budget, to include updates on the possible effects of state cutbacks. The council must pass the new city budget by its June 23 meeting. 

This week’s meeting will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. special work session during which the council will hear a quarterly report on crime in Berkeley.