South Lake Tahoe working to develop cell tower ordinance; finalizes sister city agreement with Ameca |

South Lake Tahoe working to develop cell tower ordinance; finalizes sister city agreement with Ameca

City of Ameca, State of Jalisco, Mexico Municipal President, Juan Valentin Serrano Jimenez, speaks Tuesday during the celebration before the city council meeting.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe is working to draft a new cell tower ordinance according to City Manager Frank Rush.

Rush made the announcement Tuesday night before public comment at the city’s regularly scheduled council meeting.

Cell towers were not on the agenda but Rush gave the update at Mayor Brooke Laine’s suggestion after she found out how many people were prepared to speak about the issue.

Rush said city staff is working towards a draft and that he’s hoping to present the ordinance to the planning commission in December and, if it moves it along, to the city council in January for possible approval.

Rush gave a quick update that included a further delay in the appeal hearing about a Verizon Wireless 5G tower being placed at the intersection of Ski Run Blvd., and Needle Peak.

One of the council members will not be able to attend the Dec. 3 council meeting, so Rush said they are trying to push back that hearing until January.

He said the city would also reach out to Verizon to make sure the new date works for them.

Rush also addressed adopting an emergency ordinance and said that the current applications were submitted earlier this year under the current guidelines and, “by law we cannot apply any new ordinance.”

That didn’t stop over a dozen people from venting to council about how they felt about 5G towers being constructed in residential neighborhoods during public comment that lasted for over an hour.

They expressed concerns for their health, property values and overall unhappiness.

A public speaker even suggested that the city find the people who want 5G and see if they volunteer for a tower near their homes.

The city also finalized a sister city agreement with the City of Ameca, State of Jalisco, Mexico.

Before the meeting, there was an hour-long celebration with food, drinks and live music in the lobby of the city offices at the Lake Tahoe Airport. 

Once the meeting started, Ameca Municipal President, which is similar to a mayor, Juan Valentin Serrano Jimenez participated in the formal signing of the agreement with Mayor Brooke Laine.

Ameca has approximately 60,000 people located between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta in central Mexico. It is located at approximately 4,000 feet above sea level, and is bisected by the Ameca River.

Many residents of South Lake Tahoe hail from or have family roots in Ameca.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that City Manager Frank Rush would like to present a cell tower ordinance to the planning commission in December and city council in January.

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