There will be no wireless facility -- cell tower -- moratorium in Walnut Creek -- at least not yet.
The Walnut Creek City Council decided Tuesday to make no decision on a moratorium until they can see a work plan outlining when changes to the existing wireless ordinance could happen. City Council members have been saying there are things they want to change, perhaps toughen, in the current law, but did not want to impose a moratorium before knowing when they could make the changes.
There are also dicey potential legal issues. Such a moratorium may be viewed as illegal by courts, as at least one attorney from a wireless company suggested Tuesday.
"I don't like to use a moratorium unless it's an emergency," said Mayor Sue Rainey.
The decision on the moratorium came after hours of public testimony over a controversial cell tower proposed for the Buena Vista neighborhood. Neighbors appealed a 20-foot cell antenna disguised to look like a tree that AT&T wants to build at St. Stephen's Catholic Church on Keaveny Court.
Neighbors opposed the cell tower site for various reasons, but primarily because they say there isn't a need for such an antenna. They also believe there are other places AT&T can put the tower that aren't in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
City Council members said while they didn't like the location, they didn't necessarily see grounds to deny the tower. Instead, they decided they were not convinced that surrounding locations, such as an East Bay Municipal Utility District site, wouldn't work. They ordered a "peer review" for which the city will pick an engineer team, at AT&T's expense, to determine whether the St. Stephen's property is the best place in that area for the tower.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.