Housing / Land Use

Communications tower approved near Pinnacles

SBC Planning Commission also continues adult care facility expansion project with intent to approve.

Updated for correction: previous version of this article incorrectly identified the communications tower being near Paicines.

On Aug. 19, the San Benito County Planning Commission unanimously approved installation of a communications tower near Pinnacles, and separately continued a use permit application for an adult residential care expansion to next month with the intention of approving it. 

The tower use permit was continued several times beginning April 15 at the request of the applicant, New Cingular Wireless PCS. 

The unmanned, 100-foot-tall tower will consist of 12 panel antennas and 24 remote radio heads. The project also includes installation of a 10-foot-tall, eight-foot by eight-foot modular building with a walk-in communication equipment closet and backup generator. The tower and building will be located at 32005 Airline Highway on a 30-foot by 30-foot leased area. 

According to the meeting agenda packet, the communications tower will address the gap in communication service near the interchange of Highways 25 and 146. Coverage includes cellular and WiFi services. 

“The primary objective of the project is to improve the [First Responder Network Authority] emergency service coverage both for the local rural residences as well as for tourists and passing motorists through the area,” the agenda states. FirstNet is an independent authority authorized by Congress in 2012 to operate a nationwide broadband network for first responders. 

County planner Arielle Goodspeed said the county received a letter that all the conditions have been met. According to a letter by the property owner Shelly Krieger, a 5,000-gallon water tank was installed and is available to the Hollister Fire Department for fire suppression. It also states the site was inspected and approved by the fire marshal on Aug. 5. 

The Planning Commission approved a similar communications tower near Highway 156 in June. Though the project was appealed, the Board of Supervisors upheld the commission’s decision on Aug. 4. 

Adult care facility expansion

Commissioners also decided to continue an item related to a use permit application for expansion of an adult residential care facility.

Following a presentation in which staff recommended the commission deny the application based on Clearview Care Homes, Inc. not being compliant with the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division, applicant Felicidad Kankelborg presented a letter stating she had no deficiencies in the facility and was in compliance effective Aug. 18.

After Assistant County Counsel Joel Ellinwood analyzed the letter presented to planning commissioners, he said there might not be a basis to deny the application.

“One potential finding for denial would be that there was a history of violations. On the other hand, you have this part of the record of clearance of those violations,” Ellinwood said. “I’m not sure that evidence would support such a finding.” 

Kankelborg said her facility—located at 3370 Cienega Road—had passed an inspection which lasted over an hour. The facility cannot serve more than six residents, which can involve those who suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

The proposed extension involves converting a garage space of 506 square feet into 486 square feet that would give the facility a total of nine bedrooms and three bathrooms. The facility now has five bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to the agenda packet. 

County planner Michael Kelly said because the facility is looking to serve more than six people, it is subject to a use permit.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.