September 27, 2012
The Planning Commission voted Wednesday to approve the county's $24 million plan to revamp the towers that make up its emergency communications radio system.
The approval comes even after neighbors complained about two tower sites, in Royal Oaks and Pebble Beach, for potential hurting property values and views. A motion to continue the discussion and consider more questions and concerns was defeated 5-3.
Two unopposed tower sites, at Laguna Seca and Pinon Peak in Carmel Valley, were approved 8-0; the other two tower permits were approved 7-1. If neighbors appeal, the County Board of Supervisors could overturn the Planning Commission's ruling.
The Next Generation, or "Next Gen" plan calls for 18 towers (down from an existing 33) and would also would meet a mandate from the Federal Communications Commission to shrink the amount of bandwith licensees use up.
Monterey County's received an extension from the federal January 1, 2013 deadline to June 30, 2013 for FCC compliance. County officials say the project would take up to five months to build and install from the final permitting date.