Bellevue wireless ordinance receives first public
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
The first public hearing on Bellevue’s proposed wireless
communication facilities ordinance drew some thoughtful criticism from
several audience members Thursday night.
The basic idea of the ordinance, city attorney Jim
Phillips told the council, is to encourage wireless communication
facilities (WCFs) to be placed in business and light industrial zones.
Inside these zones, the ordinance would encourage WCFs to be placed on
power poles or roofs.
WCFs have two basic components—an antenna and an
electronics equipment box.
Rod Kegley told the council he thought it is a bad idea to
encourage WCFs on power poles.
"If you allow this, that’s where all of them will
Kegley argued that power poles were ugly enough on their
own, so why would the city encourage making them uglier, especially since
the city might one day have the opportunity to get rid of its power poles?
"If you encourage placement of WCFs on power poles,
how are you ever going to get them [Idaho Power] to bury their
His suggestion was to encourage wireless communication
companies to place their antennas on top of roofs before power poles. Not
only would the antennas be hidden but the boxes that inevitably came with
each antenna could also be hidden.
Al Lindley, who told the council he works as a consultant
for wireless communication companies, told the council he seconded Kegley’s
He told the council the visual impact of a monopole in the
city’s light industrial zone could accommodate the needs of the eight
wireless companies coming into Bellevue.
The single pole would also make less of a visual impact
than eight different antennas on power poles with their eight different
equipment boxes at the foot of the power pole.
John Campbell, a Hailey residents whose business is
building multi-use wireless towers, reminded the council that it had once
considered the rental income from WCFs attractive.
Campbell urged the council to balance the extent to which
it protected the aesthetics of the city with the financial health of the
He said a 70-foot monopole could accommodate the antenna
needs of the communication companies and not impact the aesthetics of the
city as much as many smaller antennas placed in many locations about the
Mayor-elect John Barton responded to Campbell that the
people of Bellevue had made it quite clear in planning and zoning
discussions of WCFs that a monopole was unacceptable.
The city council moved to continue discussions on the
ordinance. The next council meeting will be April 17 at 7 p.m.