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April Planning Commission Recap: New Tanium Signs; AT&T Small Cell Facilities; East Bay Therapeutics Dispensary

6 mins read

The April Planning Commission meeting had discussions on a replacement for the signs as well as updates on the proposed AT&T cell facilities and East Bay Therapeutics’ new dispensary that will occupy 5745 Peladeau Street (across from The Broken Rack).

The Parking Management Plan agenda item was rescheduled for a May 17th Special meeting to allow the public more time to respond, provide comments and ask questions.

Chair Donaldson had an excused absence and Chair Banta recently resigned from his position leaving a quorum of five commissioners. Applications are being accepted for three planning commission vacancies that are due June 11th.

Director’s Report:

  • At their April 17th meeting the City Council approved Saturday, April 22nd as Earth Day in Emeryville
  • The City Council also adopted updated development impact fees for fiscal year 2018-19 with an increase of 3.49% over last year
  • The Council appealed the Planning Commission approval of the Sprint towers at their April 3rd meeting but dismissed the appeal at the following April 17th meeting after clarification

Public Hearing: Tanium Signs at 2100 Powell Street

The Commission reviewed a major sign permit for two new high-rise identification signs for “Tanium” at 2100 Powell Street, which housed the signs since 2012. The proposed Tanium signs each consist of the word “TANIUM” written in red with the Tanium logo centered above the company name.

As some residents may know, there has been continued concern over the years about the brightness of the signs on top of 2011 Powell and their impact on neighboring residents. In 2012, after the original signs were installed, City staff began receiving complaints from citizens, especially in residential units like Pacific Park Plaza, about the brightness of the north facing  sign during nighttime hours. Given the issues, the Commission voted unanimously in October of 2012 to adopt an order to initiate an action to revoke or modify the sign permit. However, and the Pacific Park Plaza residents were able to work out a compromise relating to the dimming of the lights and use of the different color animations.

This history was the center the discussion at the meeting, and it was brought up by both the Commission and Paul Gerhart, a resident of Pacific Park Plaza, who explained the past issues they had with the signs and expressed his concern that without additional information on the brightness and lumen levels of the LED lights, history could repeat itself.

However,  Joey Martinez, Head of Facilities & Global Real Estate for Tanium, clarified that unlike the original sign, there will be a dimmer and related controls to ensure the City and Tanium have the ability to adjust the brightness as needed. In addition, a condition for approval  was included in the permit which grants the City’s Director of Community Development the power to determine what level of illumination and brightness is satisfactory, given the City more control then it had on the previous signs.

The Commission was generally approving of the new signs given the control the City will have and the fact that it is unlikely the new sign, with its red cover, will emit the same brightness as the sign did. The Commission also approved of the sign marketing a local business. Commissioner Guerrero summed up the conversation:

I support having local businesses here in our city and I would like to see this request be fulfilled as long as it doesn’t light up the neighborhood more than the neighbors would want.”

Tanium was established in 2007 and specializes in IT and cybersecurity protection. They are headquartered just down the block from the proposed signs at 2200 Powell Street.

The permit was approved 4-1, which Commissioner Kang as the lone no vote.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 0:07:53.

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Public Hearing: AT&T Small Cell Facilities

The Commission reviewed updated information in relation to a Major Conditional Use Permit and Design Review Permit for a proposed small cell wireless facility on an existing street light pole located in the public right-of-way adjacent to 1411 Powell Street near the southeast corner of Powell and Peladeau Streets which we covered in our March Story. This proposed cell facility would be the first of seven AT&T intends on installing throughout areas of Emeryville that are otherwise very difficult or impossible to cover using traditional macro wireless telecommunications facilities.

As a brief recap, The facility includes installation of equipment on the 30-foot light pole including a new 4-foot 5-inch antenna. This facility or “Node” will be connected to existing fiber optic telecommunications lines on the pole and power from ground service delivered below. The purpose of this project is to provide AT&T additional wireless voice and data coverage and capacity to the surrounding area.

At the original study session in March, the applicant had provided the Commission three alternatives to consider: a slimmer antenna without a shroud; placement of the radio unit behind an existing traffic sign mounted on the street light pole; and painting of the antenna shroud and radio units a yellow color that matched the public art on the City’s utility boxes. The Commission generally felt that the small cell antenna should be as unobtrusive as possible by covering it with a shroud painted to match the street light pole, and that the equipment should be hidden behind the existing sign as much as possible. However, the Commission asked the applicant to review additional information including the possibility of hiring local artist to paint over the nods with unique art pieces.

The Commission was appreciative of the updated and detailed report given by the applicant and agreed that there is a need for additional resources especially given the ubiquitous use of smartphones. Commissioner Guerrero provided a first-hand story of his frustrations with the signal in Emeryville:

“One of the first things I noticed when I moved here was the lack of service. I had to call AT&T to receive a mobile booster for inside my home so I see a huge need for increasing service capacity.”

Commissioner Thomson added:

“I don’t question the need for these given the current trends, but I appreciate you are thinking sensitively about how to insert and utilizing existing infrastructure… it’s a needed element in the community.”

The permit was unanimously approved.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 0:48:49.

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Public Hearing: East Bay Therapeutics Cannabis Retail Dispensary

The final public hearing involved a review of a Major Conditional Use Permit for East Bay Therapeutics (EBT) to allow their new dispensary at 5745 Peladeau Street. EBT proposes to occupy an existing 5,000 square-foot space of an existing 63,400 square foot building near Honor Bar and Broken Rack.

The main entry to the dispensary will occur off Peladeau Street with delivery vehicles using the roll-up door entry off Horton Street. EBT proposal includes an Apple store like layout, where patrons can walk around and view the various products. In addition, there are spaces for a waiting room, specialized product counters, therapy rooms, consultation room, a management office and an area for call center and dispatch that will manage delivery operations. EBT anticipates serving approximately 250 store-front and 200 mobile customers daily.

EBT plans to employ 10 full time staff and three full time security personnel for on-site operations and four mobile staff for delivery operations.  The mobile delivery will operate in an “Uber” like manner whereby the drivers will only return to the site upon completion of their shift or to replenish a high demand product.  In addition to onsite security personnel, EBT will outsource its premises and area security patrol to an entity that has the capacity to patrol the area on an hourly basis.

In addition, EBT proposes a unique business model with numerous social outreach and neighborhood benefits, including starting their Social Equity Incubator with the goal of community outreach to target and bring in underground and illegal operators of all ages who suffer from lack of capitalization, history of war on drugs, or cannabis-related incarcerations. An additional program that EBT proposes is to develop the “City Walk” program where EBT intends to develop this program by donating funds and staff time to organize projects composed of professional artists and developers to improve the Powell Street Bridge walkway with green energy solar lights, permanent art work on the pillars, and assignment of full time security patrols to create a safe and artful walk across the Powell Street Bridge. In addition, the applicant plans to showcase local artists’ work within the facility. EBT will also perform quarterly community fund raising events and will donate funds raised to the City, in addition to donating 1% of its gross revenue to the City for numerous local causes.

The Commission was extremely responsive to the EBT’s unique business model and how much detail they put into their plan, including a clear security plan. The Commission was especially appreciative of the proposed community outreach EBT was going to perform, as Commissioner Keller summed up:

“you are really going above and beyond and I really do appreciate it. I think what you are doing at the Powell street bridge alone is amazing.”

The permit was unanimously approved.

View the Entire Staff Report →
Watch the staff presentation and subsequent commission discussion above at 1:11:03.

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Christopher Bennett

was born and raised in the north bay and now lives on the Emeryville/Oakland border in the Longfellow neighborhood with his wife and two cats (Sherlock and Watson). When he's not writing, Chris works as an attorney who assist engineers and professional consultants navigate their contracts and related business issues.

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