Cities and counties are receiving more applications for small cell tower permits on city utility poles, schools and churches as industry is pushing to expand deployment of small cell antennas for 4G, 5G and the Internet of Things. With the passage of the FCC Ruling to speed deployment in 2018, local governments are responding by reviewing their wireless siting procedures and amending and rewriting cell tower ordinances and codes in order to maintain some measure of control in the placement of cell towers in addition to maintaining equitable revenue from cell tower installations. A compilation of Model Cell Tower Ordinance is Key Elements of Strong Local Ordinances Physicians for Safe Technology. Another model ordinance with valuable provisions from ART is Model City Wireless Ordinance. An attorney should always be consulted in writing the ordinance.
To fight back citizens are arming themselves with knowledge about cell towers, property values, 5G, health and environmental issues related to telecommunications, the law as well as options to rewrite local wireless facilities ordinances. They are sharing this with local government officials as well as crowding city hall. Cell Towers Note: These were compiled from EHT research of various sources and a special thank you to Physicians for Safe Technology, their extensive resources utilized on this page. Please be sure to go to these pages for more information.
In addition, Americans For Responsible Technology has created a Sample Small Cell Ordinance that cities can use as a starting point which incorporates several- although not all- of these issues. Please download their model ordinance and utilize their extensive resources at this link.
Note: These were compiled from EHT research of various sources and a special thank you to Physicians for Safe Technology, for their extensive resources utilized on this page. Please be sure to go to these pages for more information.
In addition, 5G Crisis has created a Sample Small Cell Ordinance that cities can use as a starting point which incorporates several, but not all, of these issues. Please download their model ordinance and utilize their extensive resources at this link.
1000 feet setback for small cells.
Proposed Ordinance No. 2018-07: Wireless Communication Facilities
–“All facilities shall be substantially screened from the view of surrounding properties and the public view or collocated with existing facilities or structures so as not to create substantial additional visual, noise, or thermal impacts. “
–Property owners within 300 ft of proposed site must be notified
Urgency Ordinance to Establish New Regulations for Wireless Telecommunications Facilities; Ad hoc committee to study viability of fiber network
Ordinance No.819 An Urgency Ordinance Enacting Title 20 (“Telecommunications”) of the Fairfax Municipal Code to Establish New Regulations for Wireless Telecommunication Facilities [small cell devices a.k.a. 5G]
Draft as of June 21, 2019 Marin drafts preferences for 5G rollout, Point Reyes Light
Urgency Ordinance No 18, September 6, 2018
City Council voted unanimously to approve a Resolution and amended Wireless Ordinance that City Staff had proposed. Council also voted unanimously in favor of a motion to direct City Staff “to come back as soon as possible but [in] no more than [one year], with an updated Ordinance/Resolution that considers” (and e summarizing):
Council also voted to direct City Staff to return to Council with a recommendation for “best practices” with respect to inspecting antennas.
“Seeking to strike a balance between federal requirements and resident concerns, Palo Alto approved on Monday night new rules for reviewing the flurry of applications that the city has been receiving from telecommunication companies seeking to install antennas on local streetlights and utility poles.
By a 6-0 vote, with Councilman Greg Tanaka absent, the council adopted a set of “objective standards” for wireless communication facilities, including a menu of preferred design alternatives for radio equipment and antennas. And in a nod to the dozens of residents who have raised alarms about the proliferation of cellular facilities on their blocks, the council launched a new effort to further restrict where such technology can be installed and to explore “minimum distance” requirements for wireless equipment in relation to local schools and homes.”
According to citizens of the city, after citizen uproar, Crown Castle began complying with municipal aesthetic requirements and moving proposed locations out of neighborhoods and away from homes. The ordinance has four key components, if these are met the site will almost certainly be approved:
Ordinance of the City Council of Petaluma
Wireless Telecommunications Facilities
500 feet setback
Draft ordinance (5-31-2019) for small cell antenna sites in San Diego County has the following requirement:
“SCWs shall not be located within 1,000 feet of schools, child care centers, hospitals, or churches. Distance, without regard to intervening structures, shall be a straight line measured from the closest property lines.”
“officials made improved access to areas with low internet participation a precondition for reducing fees…agreement set tiered costs per network node installation, with lower fees for companies deploying more nodes. Along with this incentive, three companies pledged to contribute a total of $24 million over the next decade to a digital inclusion fund.” (GovTech)
City Council Report
Dec. 5, 2018 front page news story: https://www.marinij.com/2018/12/04/san-rafael-officials-work-to-tighten-5g-antenna-rules/
Dec. 18, 2018 front page story: https://www.marinij.com/2018/12/18/san-rafael-adopts-urgency-ordinance-to-keep-grip-on-5g-proliferation/
“I want the city and county government to clearly say no to the FCC,” said resident Arthur Saftlas. “No 5G installations of any kind in Marin, until it can be proven safe for us and the environment.”- San Rafael, Calif., Officials Work to Tighten 5G Regulation
City Council Agenda Item Report and Urgency Ordinance (Recommended)
Previous regulations on telecommunications facilities (according to the recommended urgency ordinance, these did not anticipate 5G and do not address installation of telecommunications facilities in the right-of-way):
Cannot be located in any required yard setback area
Report and Urgency Ordinance
On Nov 5, 2018 Sonoma approved their 5G urgency ordinance.
500 ft setback and residents notified.
“Based on the foregoing, the City Council finds and determines that the immediate preservation of the public health, safety and welfare requires that this Ordinance be enacted as an urgency ordinance pursuant to Government Code Section 36937(b), and take effect immediately upon adoption. Therefore, this Ordinance is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety and welfare and its urgency is hereby declared.”
500 ft setback and all facilities permitted pursuant to this chapter shall comply with the ADA.
500 feet setback
Combination of ordinances passed and suggested. Please consult an attorney for questions.
There is another perspective from a group advocating ordinance rules which control the amount of radiation from cell tower antennas that are placed and thus not “effectively prohibit” cell towers in a city (which is illegal). They advocate writing into the ordinance what effective power can be radiated, as well as vertical and horizontal offsets, which are just enough to get 5 bars on a cell phone at 1/2 mile at radiation levels much lower than typical RF compliance reports propose. As always, having a qualified attorney who is independent of industry influence examine the ordinance rules is recommended. Information found here at Vertical-Horizontal-Power.