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Lathrop moves to rein in cell towers in city right of way
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The City of Lathrop is taking a presumptive strike at heading off cellular companies that may want to encroach on city right-of-way.
Last week the Lathrop City Council approved an ordinance that is the first step in a citywide master plan being developed by an independent third-party that will help streamline the city’s future when it comes to the location, placement, and possible revenue-generating aspects of the placement of wireless communication equipment on city towers and in city right-of-way.
According to the staff report, the city’s position is intended to streamline the process for all prospective carriers, encourage the installation of equipment at sites where such facilities already exist, and encourage placements where impact will be minimal.
And by adopting the ordinance, the city took the first step towards preventing wireless carriers from simply using existing and pending legislation to build a facility on city-owned right-of-way simply because no planning oversight currently exists.
The idea to do so came as the result of a partnership between the City of Lathrop and 5 Bars LLC – an independent entity that has agreed to provide the City of Lathrop with a wireless masterplan as well as active marketing of prospective options to companies to generate revenue for the city. In exchange for those services, 5 Bars would receive 35 percent of all proceeds that come from future placement or development of wireless tower sites.
But that idea didn’t necessarily sit well with some on the council.
Vice Mayor Steve Dresser wanted to know why the city would have to give up a portion of the money they would receive through the franchise agreements that would be signed, and questioned about whether companies could bypass 5 Bars and come to the city directly to make proposals and thus eliminate the need to provide 5 Bars with that revenue.
According to City Attorney Salvador Navarette, he would have to check the contract but noted that it would be standard operating procedure to simply refer the contacting entities back to 5 Bars because of contract obligations.
Currently the City of Lathrop does not receive any money from franchise agreements with independent wireless carriers.
A provision is also being added to the ordinance that will exempt the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District from some of the regulations because they currently do have wireless carriers that use their communication tower, and have changes on the horizon with a new company coming in to take over the space that was occupied by a previous business.
The ordinance will be have be finalized at a future meeting.

To contact reporter Jason or call 209.249.3544.