Some San Mateo residents upset over planned installation of Verizon antennas on utility poles

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- Some residents in San Mateo are up in arms over the proposed installation of Small Cell Antennas in residential neighborhoods.

They're just the latest Bay Area community upset over cell tower placements.

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In upscale Hillsborough, an angry exchange between residents and the Town's leaders over small cell installations.

In Mill Valley, the controversy even has its own song.

"A lot of the new technology has never been tested on humans. Also there's aesthetics. There's loss of property values," Danielle Moskowitz heads San Mateo Citizens for a Safe Environment.

The signs under the installations concern them signs warning not to get too close because of radio frequency exposure which may exceed FCC safe limits.

She says, "Residents are very concerned about cell towers being placed right in front of homes, in front of two story windows, in front of schools."

In particular, these so-called Small Cell Antennas, which are mounted on telephone or utility poles.

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Thirteen of them have received conditional approval from San Mateo City Council.

Moskositz says residents received no advance notice. "We have no opportunity to appeal the City's decision, and that's a due process, right?"

But City officials say the 13 conditional approvals were made before public hearings were required before the City Council approved an ordinance in July which will now make the process more transparent.

"They'll be notified in advance. They'll be able to speak out. They'll potentially have a public meeting with the vendor," said San Mateo Public Works Director Brad Underwood.

The reason the City won't simply ban these small cell antennas like other towns have tried says Underwood.

"We don't see how we can ban them totally because that will put the City at risk for potential lawsuits."

Verizon which is installing the small cell antennas sent ABC7 News a statement, saying it is actively working with the City of San Mateo to address the concerns of the community.
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