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Elk Grove Citizen

Planners Discuss Storage, Wireless, Lighting

Mar 28, 2024 10:28AM ● By By Sharon Pearce
ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - Elk Grove Planning Commission items at the March 21 meeting included approving a use permit for Guardian Yards, a storage facility for contractor equipment and work trucks. The commission also approved changing language in the Municipal Code to read that wireless antennas have a 10-feet clearance from power lines “all around,” not just horizontally. It also weighed language for defining lighting power and range for residential exteriors in the Municipal Code.
Applicant John Tomasello owns Guardian Yards, which is an open-space storage in development at Waterman and Grant Line roads. Tomasello informed the Planning Commission that the site was prohibited from having structures due to overhead power lines and described how the layout was a needed one-of-a-kind facility. Commissioners asked about his using optional ground cover rather than just using asphalt.
Tomasello agreed to work further with the engineer to use bio-filters and perhaps an asphalt base to develop a more porous ground cover. The Planning Commission approved a motion that no further CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines need be met and for a Conditional Use Permit with modification that hybrid paving be pursued.
The Planning Commission considered a motion to amend the Zoning Code to require 10 feet of clearance between a wireless antenna and any power lines when the wireless antenna is not integrated with a utility tower or facility. Existing code requires 10 feet of horizontal separation. The revision would delete the word "horizontal." 
Upon discussion, the recommended resolution was adopted unanimously.
It was suggested the Planning Commission review and provide direction to staff on the text amendment update for the city of Elk Grove Lights Standards as to exterior residential lighting. The light fixture shall not exceed the roof height to which it is attached.  Bulbs will not exceed 1,600 lumens, each lumen being 100 watts and 1,600 candle powers. The lighting will be focused downward. The standard bulb is 100 watts for an incandescent light, and 14 watts for LED.
The other commissioners were taken with Commissioner George Murphey’s comment that eyes are deemed “sensitive receptors” and lighting installed from eight to 12 feet high needs to be installed as fully shielded down-lighting to protect from glare into a person’s eyes. Murphey said that manufacturers aren’t making the lighting to be shielded, so most residents would likely install carriage lights; most of those lights are 60 watts. Reflective light behind and above must be turned out and down, it was reported. 
Discussion covered that if light is installed higher than 12 feet, the property owner must apply for design review and file a photometric plan for a proposed light review. That would be a public hearing before a zoning administrator and take three to four months. A resident cannot ask for more than 20 feet of height for lighting. As to all lighting, it cannot blink or flash. 
Planning Commissioner Vice-Chair Juan Fernandez referenced as a site to access to study lighting. It was mentioned that illegal lighting can be cited as a public nuisance. Direction was given to staff to indicate these restrictions in the code. Although it reads that night lighting can be on from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., it should be added “…no later than 10 p.m. for pole lighting.”
Staff reported the zoo item will be on the agenda for the April 4 meeting, and the materials will be put together and available for all to view by the afternoon of March 22. 
It was also mentioned that an auto body shop and a few other items are coming up soon, and a shuttle park amendment would be coming up a few weeks later.
Fernandez, on behalf of his colleagues, presented retiring Commissioner Murphey with a photograph book of the City of Elk Grove inscribed with notes from his colleagues.