It’s Raining Small Cells In Florida’s Panhandle

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Last month, Verizon received approval for seven, 4G small cell permit applications. Now, six more applications are under review, reported the Pensacola News Journal, but that’s just a drop in the ocean. Per a city permitting official, Verizon and AT&T submitted requests for 90 more small cell locations, and 40 more are in the works.

Florida laws passed in 2018 and 2019, severely limit any input local municipalities have over the new small cell antennas in the right of ways, reported the News Journal

Several residents expressed frustration to Pensacola Councilman Jared Moore and state Rep. Alex Andrade, during a neighborhood meeting. Additionally, resident John Herron said he wants the city to fight the law and support a proposal in Congress to overturn the FCC rule.

According to Councilman Moore, “It’s not a clear path in how do we return some of that control to the city.” He noted that the City Council would discuss the issue at its meeting on September 26. Herron added that companies should have to notify residents when a new location is proposed, says the city needs to further research health effects and wants something to be done regarding the impact on home values. “If a house gets a cell pole, they should be reappraised [for tax purposes],” he said. “It’s not fair that you have to pay a tax when you take a hit.”

Verizon spokesperson Kate Jay said the company is making every effort to co-locate on existing poles. “We are working closely with the city and NextEra [Gulf Power] to co-locate wherever possible,” Jay said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have access to all poles in the right of way, so in some instances, we do have to place our own poles in order to meet customer needs. We are also working with the city on design standards, blending with the environment – that specifically includes historic districts.”

September 16, 2019

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