MARTINEZ -- Contra Costa supervisors recently adopted an ordinance mandating safety measures for meteorological towers like the one that a pilot crashed into on a Delta island in 2011.
The ordinance mirrors a state law approved last year but includes a provision that aviation beacons be required atop towers 150 feet and taller, an optional measure under state regulations. Towers shorter than 150 feet may require lights, but that would be decided by the county zoning administrator, who would look at factors such as location and visibility.
As is the case with the state law that took effect Jan. 1, Contra Costa's rules include requirements that all meteorological towers 50 to 200 feet tall be marked with thick, alternating stripes of orange and white paint, orange tracking balls on each support wire and clear ground markings where the wires are anchored, including sleeves at each anchor point.
Contra Costa's ordinance also prohibits towers in residential areas and mandates that they be erected at least the object's length from a property line or right of way; thus a 150-foot tower would have to be at least 150 feet away.
The state and county rules came in response to the January 2011 fatal crash of agricultural pilot Stephen Allen, whose airplane struck a 198-foot tower on Webb Tract that he likely did not see while crop dusting. That tower was erected in 2009.
Federal law requires that towers 200 feet and taller be painted in bright aviation colors and lit; local governments decide on those shorter than 200 feet.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.