Commission approves Verizon wireless facility, looks ahead to future meetings

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved the installation and operation of a Verizon wireless communication facility that will expand wireless coverage in the city’s center. 

“We can see that the increase in coverage with the proposed wireless communications facility is significant and fills the existing coverage gap,” said Kendal Irvin, a city planner, displaying maps comparing coverage with and without the facility. 

The facility will consist of 12 six-foot-tall panel antennas, 12 remote radio units and surge suppressors on an existing Southern California Edison 149-foot lattice tower located on city-owned property south of the William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball fields and west of Valencia BMW. 

Next to the tower, Verizon will also build an 8-foot-tall, 374-sqaure-foot equipment enclosure. The tower is one of six on that stretch of city-owned property, which runs along the Santa Clara River and includes a portion of the city trails network. 

“It is staff’s understanding that the license agreement between Verizon and Southern California Edison has been secured and would be executed pending project approval,” said Irvin, who noted that Verizon will also need to enter into a license agreement with the city of Santa Clarita. 

The project will have minimal visibility and not add to the ambient noise levels in the area, she said. 

“Local jurisdictions are preempted from making decisions related to radio frequency emissions. However, a radio frequency study completed by the applicant did determine that the facility would comply with all (Federal Communications Commission) regulations,” Irvin said. 

Future meetings 

Jason Crawford, the city’s planning manager, told commissioners that they can anticipate hearings on their Oct. 19 meeting agenda about a proposed battery storage facility in Canyon Country and the sports field lights at Skyline Ranch Park. 

On Nov. 16, the commission is anticipated to hear an update to the city’s climate action plan and a potential revision to a Bouquet Canyon residential project approved approximately two years ago, Crawford said. 

The commission is also slated to meet on Dec. 7, then hold two meetings in January, which will include a hearing on the city’s housing element update and the Old Town Newhall Specific Plan update. 

Senate Bills 9 and 10 

Commissioner Renee Berlin asked Crawford about the potential impact of two bills – Senate Bills 9 and 10 – that were recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

The bills allow the state to preempt cities and counties in certain types of development on single-family lots. 

“It allows for a second residential unit to be built on any single-family lot throughout the state,” Crawford told commissioners. “That is in addition to the accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units that the state has already allowed for, regardless of local rules.” 

The city is reviewing the language in the new laws with its attorneys, according to Crawford. 

“We are looking very carefully at that language, as well as other cities and the League of California Cities to determine what impact that has and if there are any avenues for us,” he said, noting that the new law will “affect a lot of things across the state.” 

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