California cities have the right to block small cell permits based on aesthetic concerns
RCR Wireless News, Sep 16, 2016
California cities have the right to block small cell permits based on aesthetic concerns according to a state appeals court.
Plaintiffs T-Mobile US, Crown Castle and ExteNet argued state law gives them the right to install equipment “in such manner and at such points as not to incommode the public use of the road or highway,” meaning infrastructure should be permitted as long as it does not block traffic. The court disagreed and ruled in favor of San Francisco, which argued that the definition of “incommode” includes “inconvenience, discomfort and disturbance beyond mere blockage.”
Long Island, NY : Westchester Residents Concerned About Plans For New Cellphone Poles
December 7, 2016 11:11 PM
RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Towering poles topped with cellphone booster equipment are now lining the streets of some Westchester County and Long Island neighborhoods – and some are calling them an eyesore.
But as CBS2’s Lou Young reported, even more of the poles are expected to be installed.
The new cellphone equipment is invading Rye. Some towers already have been attached onto and above existing utility poles, and dozens in total are proposed in Rye alone.
Opponents fear it is just the start.
“The 64 coming in would be Verizon nodes, but other carriers and infrastructure builders can come in and do exactly the same thing,” said Joshua Cohn of Rye.
The mayor said the fact is that upgrades for cellphone networks are necessary.
“We all have (cellphones). We all use them,” said Rye Mayor Joe Sack. “And as a result, the wireless providers have to upgrade their network.”
But while there are only 10 of the new units in Rye now, the sudden expansion proposal has stiffened opposition. Neighbors say they are not only big, but in the summer, internal cooling fans make them noisy as well.
“Walking the dog, I can hear it. It’s like a low whirring sound,” said Madeline Peron of Rye.
Other communities are already reacting to the arrival of cellphone equipment. In Huntington, Long Island, 166 poles were recently approved and went up – much to the shock of those living nearby.
Jodi Abraham awoke this week to a new pole with a booster box and converters pointed right at her Huntington home.
“This is new technology, we’re not sure, like most people we don’t know the health effects of it,” she told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Her husband Peter wants nothing to do with the new installations.
“I don’t want it on my property,” he said. “And I don’t want it adjacent to my property and my children.”
The Abrahams and their neighbors claim no one with Town of Huntington alerted the community that it was entering an agreement with a giant telecommunications company.
Peter demands to know how permits were passed and why residents weren’t previously told about it.
A public hearing called Crown Castle Presentation was held in July. As CBS2’s McLogan reported, few in the community knew it was a company seeking to rent space on the poles to multiple cellphone providers.
The township claims they have limited authority, and the antennas pass government health and safety testing.
Huntington town spokesman A.J. Carter tells CBS2 that Crown Castle told the town that the equipment is designed to fill in gaps in cell phone service.
He claims the initiative is not a money making venture for the town.
CBS2 reports that Huntington stands to make about $230,000 in permit fees, along with 5 percent of future monthly gross revenue for 10 years for equipment placed in right-of-ways.
“It feels like the town can do whatever it wants,” said Jodi.
Back in Rye, opponents are petitioning their city council to keep the cell equipment on public property and out of residential neighborhoods.
Mayor Sack insists the equipment is safe despite the lack of aesthetic appeal.
“Telephone poles are not pretty objects, OK?” he said. “And when you put one of these antennas on top of one, they kind of blend in, you know, with the preexisting ugliness.”
Texas-based Crown Castle is trying to secure the utility pole leases for Westchester and Long Island, as well as for New York City.
Multiple calls to the telecom company have not been returned.
WATCH VIDEO :
Maryland : Hundreds Do Not Want Small Cell Towers Near Homes: Montgomery County
Published on Oct 27, 2016
Small cells emit radiation just like Wi-Fi. See the full October 26, 2016
Small cell towers installed in right of ways irk neighbors, particularly in Clifton and Crescent Hill (UPDATE)
By JOE SONKA | October 28, 2015 1:59 pm
A new 30-foot pole with cell antenna equipment installed in the right of way in Clifton
When Metro Council approved Fibertech Networks in 2014 as a franchisee to install cell antenna equipment for Verizon carriers, a company executive told council members they would put this on existing infrastructure and it would barely be noticeable by citizens.
However, a Fibertech executive told the Metro Council Public Works Committee in a special meeting Tuesday that because LG&E has not allowed them to put such equipment on existing poles, they have had to put new poles in neighborhoods’ right of ways — to the particular chagrin of residents in the Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods.
Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9, who represents that area, said that neighbors and businesses have complained about several new 30-foot poles going up in front yards with no notice or explanation, saying they are an eyesore, block radio signals, and might present a health and safety concern.
While Metro Public Works project manager Al Andrews said these installations were permitted by the city’s franchise agreement and that door hangers were distributed giving information about the new small cell towers, Hollander indicated many of his constituents either did not get a hanger, or received one after it already was installed.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Hollander read a statement Fibertech gave to council last year saying the company would use existing infrastructure. In response, Joe Pellegrini of Fibertech said they had to change plans after LG&E said this equipment could not be attached to existing poles.
“That was earlier in the process when we definitely had hopes that LG&E would be amicable to us leasing space on their pole for the equipment to attach,” said Pellegrini. “That, unfortunately, did not come to fruition.”
Several council members wondered why LG&E made such a decision, and LG&E has not yet responded to Insider Louisville’s inquiries about this decision.
Notices placed on the new small cell towers
Pellegrini said it has installed roughly 40 small cell towers with new poles, and it also submitted a document to the committee naming 57 proposed locations for more towers in its next phase. However, both he and Andrews indicated this phase would be delayed until they further discuss the concerns of Metro Council.
Hollander said there should be a review process in place for these new small cell towers before they expand across the city.
“This phase will expand… If this continues, it will go countywide,” said Hollander. “I really think that we should take the appropriate steps to get some planning and design involved in this process. I hope we do that and there is this continued moratorium until we do that.”
Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, also expressed concern that Fibertech is installing the small cell towers in a manner different than what was described to council members last year, and requested that the county attorney’s office look into whether the franchise agreement is being violated. Councilman Stuart Benson, R-20, expressed sympathy for Fibertech having to delay their installations to improve Verizon customer’s coverage, asking, “Do we need government involved in everything?”
Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, said the towers were ugly and should at least include a street light, adding: “I would be really opposed to it if you put anything like that in my district.” Committee chairman Tom Owen, D-10, countered: “Well, I can assure you, Mr. Johnson, it’s a matter of time… do you use a lot of data?”
Hollander told IL on Wednesday that unless LG&E changes its policy or a review process is put in place, such small cell towers — often put in right of ways, as they must be far apart from existing poles on street corners — will proliferate unchecked around the city. He cited a recent Bloomberg article saying that due to increased demand for cell data, there will be 37 million small cell towers in America by 2017.
“These are just for Verizon,” said Hollander. “If another carrier decided they wanted small cell towers too, they could put one up too if they have a franchise with us… You could see this sort of thing proliferate.”
A small cell tower in Clifton
Hollander added that when the city and Metro Chief of Civic Innovation Ted Smith put out this request for proposal in 2013, in a response to not getting Google Fiber, “most of that was discussion of underground fiber. Nobody was envisioning towers on new 30-foot poles. Maybe Ted was, I don’t know, but I’m fairly confident council wasn’t.”
Asked about the apparent moratorium on installing small cell towers, mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter told IL there is no moratorium in place. Public Works spokesman Harold Adams also confirmed that a moratorium is not in place, though adding “we have asked Fibertech to pause further installations while we answer concerns raised by some citizens and proactively educate areas to be affected by the balance of installations.”
Hollander indicated to IL on Wednesday that a Clifton business owner — who had complained that a new cell tower in front of his store was jamming his equipment — was told by an electrician that it was being turned off this morning.
“In addition to having a franchise, they also need a permit, and I don’t believe Public Works should be issuing any new ones until information is shared with the public, questions are answered and a procedure for public notice is established,” said Hollander.
***** UPDATE 2:34 p.m. *****
LG&E spokeswoman Natasha Collins gave the following statement to IL, explaining why they would not allow Fibertech’s small-cell battery boxes to be on their poles:
“We participated in discussion with Fibertech regarding the potential for accommodating their equipment on our poles. As part of that discussion, we proposed to Fibertech terms and conditions applying the same standards we apply to other companies seeking to attach small-cell facilities. The standards we require of all small-cell attachers apply the National Electrical Safety Code requirements and LG&E construction standards that are necessary for the safety and reliability of our system.
While our standards accommodate cables, small-cell antennas, and equipment associated with the antennas, they do require small-cell battery boxes be on the ground instead of the pole because of the obstacle they present to crews attempting to safely climb poles and the threat to electric reliability presented by such large boxes attached to poles. Such boxes expose poles to increased wind and ice-loading. It appears that, as a result, Fibertech chose to install their own infrastructure to accommodate their equipment.
LG&E does not deny small-cell attachers access to our distribution facilities. LG&E will allow such attachments as long as the attacher abides by the reasonable terms and conditions and construction standards we apply to similar attachers as a group.”
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