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SF Supervisors' Committee Trying To Empower Public Over Wireless Companies

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Legislation is moving forward at the Board of Supervisors that would require a lot more work for wireless companies that want to install antennas on utility poles, street lights and other public right of way.

A San Francisco Supervisors Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would give the public more power to review and protest applications for wireless antennas, but wireless providers aren't happy.

In the past, San Francisco has required wireless companies to notify neighbors and go through a public process to put up large antennas, but not for smaller ones.

The new legislation by Supervisor John Avalos would make even the tiniest antennas fair game for public review.

"Now all permit applications would require public notice and be subject to protests. This simplifies the process for everyone," Avalos said.

Verizon attorney Paul Albritton told the superviors' finance committee the proposal is overkill and punishes responsible wireless providers.

"We feel if the rug is being pulled out from under us and putting us through the tier three process we might has well have built enormous and ugly facilities. We don't want to do that," Albritton said.

This all started because of court ruling that said San Francisco can regulate wireless antennas for aesthetics, but can't stop them from being modified or made larger once they've been permitted.

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