MARTINEZ – Following the state’s lead, Contra Costa County is poised to tighten its rules for marking meteorological towers that might prove hazardous to aircraft.
However, county planning commissioners postponed taking action Tuesday night because they want more information about adding aviation light beacons atop towers 150 feet and taller. The item will be brought back to the planning commission at its April 23 meeting.
The state approved legislation last fall in response to the January 2011 fatal crash of agricultural pilot Stephen Allen after his airplane struck a 198-foot tower on Webb Tract that he likely did not see. The tower was erected in 2009.
The county’s proposed ordinance, which mirrors the state law, would require that all meteorological towers 50- to 200-feet tall are marked with thick alternating stripes of orange and white paint, orange tracking balls attached to each support wire, and a clear marking on the ground where the wires are anchored, including sleeves at each anchor point.
Federal law requires that towers 200 feet and taller be painted in bright aviation colors and lit. Towers shorter than 200 feet fall under the purview of local governments.
Wind farm developers use the meteorological towers to measure currents to find the best locations for new wind farms.
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