Written by Megan V. Winslow
Imagine a Loma Prieta-grade earthquake in Los Altos Hills: The power is out, fires blaze, cellphone signals are jammed and emergency officials are spread thin – too thin.
“The only people you’re going to have left for communications is your ham radio operators,” said Jim Abraham, city planning commissioner and Emergency Communications Committee co-chairman.
But not all Los Altos Hills residents assign such indispensability to amateur airwaves. Property owners concerned about antennas marring their homes’ views said as much during an Oct. 22 Planning Commission meeting about proposed amendments to the city municipal code section pertaining to antennas. The commission is responsible for reviewing a draft ordinance before submitting a recommendation to the city council, which ultimately decides the issue.
“I will ask a simple question: If you need medical assistance during an emergency in Los Altos Hills, are you going to rely on your neighbor’s ham radio to get you the help you need?” Robert Leland said at the meeting. “I don’t think we should be pushed into enacting amendments that are not relevant.”
Current regulations dictate that Los Altos Hills residents must undergo an administrative review process in order to erect antennas between 40 feet and 63 feet tall and through the Planning Commission to erect antennas taller than that. In both cases, the public must receive notice of the proceedings. The municipal code does not include antenna height limits…....Read More
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