Gaithersburg Considers Changes to Small Cell Regulations

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Gaithersburg, Maryland City Council members discussed potential changes to small cell tower ordinances for local right-of-ways at a public hearing on January 7, 2019, the Montgomery County Sentinel reported. New changes in FCC regulations and the telecommunications industry spurred on the proposed revisions that would allow developers to increase the size of cell tower equipment housing. Crown Castle and AT&T have been in communication with local government to discuss the possible changes. According to Deputy City Manager Dennis Enslinger, the current size regulation for cell tower equipment is 2.8 cubic feet, and with the changes it would increase to 12 cubic feet.

Many residents and Council members spoke out in opposition of the changes at the hearing. City resident Lisa Cline said the public should have more of a say in these decisions, and be given the opportunity to express their concerns directly to Crown Castle.

Steven Raphael, resident and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, discussed how these changes would impact the public greatly, and said the changes, “should be submitted for referendum by the electorate.” Raphael also said the changes would allow a steep increase in cell tower installation, thus adding “clutter” to the town.

Council Member Ryan Spiegel will soon become president of the Maryland Municipal League and the City of Gaithersburg Council, where he has expressed the importance of this issue, and continuing to regulate small cell installation.

According to the Sentinel, the public record on the potential ordinance changes will be open until January 31, and the Council will re-address the issue in mid-February.

January 14, 2019

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