The Montecito Board of Architectural Review took up a Crown Castle NextG Networks telecommunications project for the first time last week and decided to break it up into two parts, according to county planner Megan Lowery.
She said Crown wants to install a distributed antennae system on utility poles in the Montecito area to broadcast cell and data service. The project proposes adding the telecommunications facilities to 29 existing poles in the public right-of-way.
At last week’s conceptual review, the board asked for the project to be broken into two, between the coastal region’s 11 sites and the inland region’s 18 sites, Lowery said.
Board members will have time to drive by each of the sites and look over the plans and comment letters before the next meetings, she said.
The coastal region is scheduled for Dec. 16, and the inland project will come back on Jan. 6. The Monday meeting was very well-attended, and there was more public comment for the inland portion, Lowery noted.
Resident Betsy Jones, concerned with the Orchard Avenue area of the project, said the project is proposed for a very dense neighborhood with a lot of families. She estimated that about 50 people came out against the project last Monday, with concerns about aesthetics, potential health impacts and property devaluation.
Another telecommunications project in the Montecito area passed without a fuss last week.
AT&T received permit extensions to keep operating the temporary facility at 484 Ortega Ridge Road while the permanent facility goes through the environmental review and planning process, county planner Brian Banks said. It is located at the edge of Montecito and Summerland.
If the extensions weren't been granted by the County Planning Commission, there would be a service disruption to the Montecito and Summerland area residents who use AT&T for cellular voice and data service, he said.
No one commented at Wednesday’s meeting, but the county expects some when the permanent facility comes up for approval around April, Banks said.