They are tall, they are hot and, city officials said, they tend to be pretty ugly.
That was the justification for imposing an immediate interim law this week to regulate wireless antenna facilities in the city.
"Presently, installation of a new antenna requires a conditional-use permit, but the Planning Commission has very little discretion regarding aesthetics," said Rick Warsinski, acting director of development services.
While the city is home to only three or four of the antenna facilities, which range in height from 60 to 80 feet, wireless communications companies have been flooding the city with requests for information about zoning regulations, Warsinski said.
After receiving about 40 such calls, the manager decided to take action to halt the prospect of a sudden surge in the number of antennas, which the companies rely upon to service cellular phones and other wireless technology.
The interim law restricts antennas to existing buildings, shared locations or industrial and commercial zones, unless the antenna facility is small. The regulations also include screening and other aesthetic requirements.
The City Council unanimously approved the plan after a public hearing Monday night.
"I am for anything limiting them," Councilman Jerry Sigler said. "I don't want to look out at a forest of antennas."
Rick Bishop, project manager for Newport Beach's The Learning Center, which helps companies with the permit process, said the regulations were well written. But he asked if the city could loosen the specific codes limiting placement in residential zones.
"This may preclude the staff from finding the site with the lowest aesthetic impact," he said.
However, officials assured him that variances could be obtained if that situation developed.
The interim law, which became effective Tuesday, will last for one year and could be extended another year, the city attorney's office said.