ALBANY -- A pair of contested proposals for San Pablo Avenue long in the formulation received differing results Monday from the Albany City Council.
The council rejected a contested cell phone antenna installation at 1035 San Pablo Ave., voting 3-2 to uphold the city's Planning and Zoning Commission's denial of a conditional use permit.
Earlier in the meeting, the council gave final approval to a series of ordinances to allow the University of California to develop land on the west side of San Pablo into senior housing and a Whole Foods Market by a 4-1 vote.
The antennas, intended to improve cell phone service for AT&T customers in the area, would have been co-located on a building that already has cell phone antennas on it, which is preferred under Albany regulations.
The plan had drawn complaints from residents about siting the antennas in a residential neighborhood.
The commission and the council eventually turned down the application because the building already exceeds the city's height limit and therefore the construction of the antennas would violate limits on rooftop coverage on commercial buildings over the height limit.
"We're going back to the drawing board," AT&T spokesman Lane Kasselman said. "There are some other remedies we can pursue. We're determining whether or not to pursue them."
Those remedies could include taking legal action or trying to find a new site. Kasselman said AT&T would
AT&T had modified its proposal several times over the past four years.
A "penthouse" on the roof would have held the equipment and AT&T officials proposed cutting the size of the penthouse from 51 square feet to 43 square feet at Monday's meeting, but the council was not swayed.
John Di Bene represented AT&T at the meeting.
"Returning to planning and zoning is unacceptable," Di Bene told the council. "As you know, we've had four years of delay. The FCC shot clock requires these things to be dealt with in 150 days."
He was referring to federal law that requires local governments to approve or deny applications quickly. The AT&T proposal has taken four years because the company was willing to resubmit its application repeatedly.
Robert Lieber, Joanne Wile and Margaret Atkinson voted to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission's rejection of the application. Mayor Farid Javandel and Peggy Thomsen voted against the motion.
Earlier in the meeting, the council again took up the issue of the University Village development. At a special meeting on July 9, the council had voted to approve a series of resolutions and ordinances to allow the project to proceed.
The second reading of the ordinances governing zoning and development of the university property was on the council agenda's consent calendar and remained there despite a motion by Lieber to have them removed.
As he had at the July 9 meeting, Lieber again moved to make the neighboring university property, known as the Gill Tract, part of an easement, which would have forced UC to keep it as open space. Again, nobody seconded the motion.
The Gill Tract, used for years by UC for agricultural projects, was taken over by the protester group "Occupy the Farm" in April before university police removed them a month later. Occupy the Farm wants the land kept as agricultural land. It is not part of the senior housing and Whole Foods development.
The council eventually approved the ordinances by a 4-1 vote with Lieber dissenting.