At their October 4, 2016 meeting, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s (SRVUSD) Board of Education directed staff to defer further discussions of a proposed cellular tower at San Ramon Valley High School (SRVHS) until local emissions data from the California High School cellular project can be independently studied and verified to be in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.
The Board’s action follows Verizon Wireless’s submission of a Letter of Intent to the Board indicating an interest in placing cellular transmission equipment at SRVHS. On Tuesday, the Board heard and discussed a staff report on the proposal as well as public input. From that conversation the Board made it clear that a proposal to install a cellular tower is a lengthy multi-step process that includes community input and research-based science.
Prior to approving the cellular tower at California High earlier this year, the Board utilized the engineering firm of Hammett and Edison to study and report on potential health and safety impacts. A representative from Hammett and Edison also addressed community concerns at the October 4 meeting.
The Hammett and Edison report reflected FCC findings that, “radio frequency emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS (Personal Communications Service) transmissions result in exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits. These safety limits were adopted by the FCC based on the recommendations of expert organizations and endorsed by agencies of the Federal Government responsible for health and safety. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that such towers could constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents or students.”
In approving the installation of wireless telecommunication equipment on a new pole at the California High School stadium, the Board of Education added a requirement that the wireless provider reimburse the District for hiring a radio frequency expert to independently verify FCC compliance on an annual basis. The Board asked staff to review these findings before engaging in any further discussions about additional cellular tower installations.