For Our Neighbors

Sutro Tower Inc. and the Twin Peaks Improvement Association, Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization and Midtown Terrace Neighborhood Association agreed in March 2015 to establish this dedicated web page with information about activity at Sutro Tower that could affect some nearby residents.

Sutro Tower, Inc. has submitted final permit applications to the San Francisco Planning Department to install new antennas mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, and to reduce the wind load and weight of the tower for safety. Antenna reconfiguration requires structural enhancement subject to newer building codes, which include managing the forces of winds of more than 100 mph. The safest way to strengthen the tower is to reduce its weight and lessen the wind forces. Therefore, 1,500 siding panels will be removed from the structure’s legs – creating “open truss legs” similar to the Eiffel Tower and most bridges.

In 2015, the Planning Commission approved a Site Improvement and Erosion Control project. This project provided for remediation of the erosion on the south side of the property above some homes on Dellbrook Drive, including installation of a new retaining wall, removal of several blue gum eucalyptus trees, and re-grading the slope. The remediated area was replanted with shrubs and trees selected by expert arborists and the City Parks Department. The project was completed in 2016.

Sutro Tower’s 2018 maintenance included the annual work on one of the tower’s legs –  the West leg  – as well as any maintenance identified as needed by the Structural Engineers who inspect the tower. The work includes scraping away old paint and rust and coating the steel with a high-quality epoxy paint, and replacing any bolts that identified as nearing the end of their useful life.

To minimize the noise impact on neighbors, tower workers use quieter tools as much as possible and use their louder heavy-duty air tools only when absolutely necessary in order to meet maintenance requirements.Louder noise from machinery and tools will be limited to the work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and there will be no maintenance work on holiday weekends.

Sutro Tower Inc. has planted trees and shrubs between its building and the trail around the adjacent city reservoir. The landscaping, which includes new foliage both on Sutro Tower’s property and on city land that Sutro Tower planted and will maintain, was developed in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. In addition, translucent glass will be installed on some building ledges to shield some roof-mounted antennas from view from the trail. And portions of the Sutro Tower facility, and certain antennas, have been repainted to be more aesthetically pleasing.

Radio frequency radiation exposure limits set by the FCC are 50 times lower than any level found by numerous scientific studies to have any negative effect on health.  The radiation from Sutro Tower is 8.4% of the FCC limit at the point of maximum exposure under normal conditions.  When broadcasters use their auxiliary antennas, which are located lower on the tower than their primary antennas, the maximum radiation level can rise, but is never more than 15% of the FCC limit.  Sutro Tower will notify any resident in the Twin Peaks, Forest Knolls or Midtown Terrace neighborhoods who would like to be notified when Auxiliary Antennas are in use.

Click here for the results of the most recent R-F exposure measurements and the most recent structural inspections.

For inclusion in the auxiliary antenna activation email list, send an email with “Notice List” in the subject line to If you, or someone you know, do not have access to e-mail, and you would like a telephone call regarding operation of auxiliary antennas, please give us a call at 415-681-8851 to be added to our notification list.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sutro Tower Chief Operating Officer Eric Dausman at 415-681-8851, or email him at