Verizon Wireless is on a mission to install nearly thirty new small cells in downtown Rehoboth Beach by summer 2021, reported the Cape Gazette. According to City Manager Sharon Lynn, the carrier submitted permit applications for the boardwalk and along streets downtown for 28 antennas in total. Lynn added that Verizon is planning to begin construction after the summer season.
AT&T installed small cells on street lights two years ago, and Lynn said Verizon would work with the same infrastructure manufacturer to ensure continuity. Public Works Director Kevin Williams added, “I haven’t seen the engineered drawings yet, so it’s hard for me to comment on exactly how similar they are. But they’ve told us they are the same height, same visual look, just a very small increase in the diameter.”
Rehoboth passed a wireless technology ordinance in 2019, reported the Cape Gazette, in response to an FCC 2018 ruling. The ruling included requiring a 60-foot setback from any residential dwelling for new facilities unless approved through a conditional use, notifying all residents within 500 feet of a proposed location, posting all applications to the city website, and making sure facilities comply with FCC requirements.
Verizon is planning to submit five additional sites for approval, said Williams.
However, according to Heather Metz, a member of the city’s environment committee, the city should hold on all new applications, including Verizon’s. Metz explained that two court cases are pending in other jurisdictions, where municipalities are questioning the FCC ruling and the power it gives wireless communication companies. She believes all decisions should halt until court rulings are made.