With a 6-3 vote, the Jersey City, NJ City Council voted in favor of an ordinance allowing the construction of more cell towers. The decision will allow Cross River Fiber LLC to install 72 new utility poles and add high-capacity fiber optic cables to existing utility poles, reports NJ.com. The project is part of the bigger goal of establishing a 5G infrastructure.
The favorable vote thwarted an effort by Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano to shut down the project. Boggiano voiced his concerns about frightening radiation stories he discovered online and fought against the cell towers. “As I said, there are many scientists that disagree totally with what the FCC or whatever they say,” said an agitated Boggiano. “Anybody who gets sick, I hope they not only sue the city, they sue the judge or any court that ever says that we have to go along with this. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say ‘no.’” Citing his sources, he added, “This is BS because go on the computer and look up all this stuff.”
Two other councilmen seconded Boggiano’s “no” vote, but explained their reservations were not about perceived RF safety issues, but about fees. The councilmen said they declined to support the ordinance because the council would be unable to increase fees for the cell tower installation or to create tougher regulations. The ordinance was amended to add that property owners within 200 feet of the installations must be notified by Cross River Fiber when the equipment is to be installed and the exact location of the placement. Business owners must also be informed of safety information for the equipment to be installed.
“We firmly believe that this project will offer Jersey City residents vast improvements to its communications infrastructure, helping to bridge the digital divide,” said Ray LaChance, a CEO with ZenFi Networks, and now Cross River. “With the 5G cellular network project now approved, the Jersey City Council has taken a big step forward to improving wireless connectivity across the city.”
In addition to approving the installation, the City Council also passed a resolution requesting that New Jersey’s federal legislators challenge the Telecommunications Act of 1996 because it limits the authority of municipalities to control the placement of 5G cell towers.
Regarding potential safety issues, the FCC recently reviewed its human exposure limits to RF and voted to maintain them at current levels, Inside Towers reported. Before he retired, Julius Knapp, the former Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, stated, “The FCC sets radiofrequency limits in close consultation with the FDA and other health agencies. After a thorough review of the record and consultation with these agencies, we find it appropriate to maintain the existing radiofrequency limits, which are among the most stringent in the world for cell phones.”