Sandy Springs Residents Want to Join Coalition of Cities Suing the FCC

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UPDATE Sandy Springs, GA residents took aim at city officials on February 4, for not standing up to telecommunications companies, particularly Verizon, for the installation of 5G small cell poles popping up in their neighborhood. At issue is the lack of notification prior to installation while raising concerns over location, quantity, and future expansion of such cell sites.

Citing the upcoming February 10 U.S. Court of Appeals hearing brought forward by 30 cities, four counties and 11 powercos and associations against the FCC’s 2018 Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order, resident Nikki Maginn said, “I’m here to ask Sandy Springs to join the coalition of cities suing the FCC.”

The Northside Neighbor reported, however, that Sandy Springs officials have no intention of joining the lawsuit. In a statement by spokeswoman Sharon Kraun and City Attorney Dan Lee, “The FCC policy limits the fee the city can charge for that. Our problem is the state has preempted the control of the use of the right-of way. We’re gaining notice about the poles being installed. … We won’t be helped at all if the FCC loses this lawsuit.”  

With over a thousand small cell permit applications currently submitted to the city by Verizon alone, Councilman Tibby DeJulio questioned Verizon rep Matt Hartley on pole placement and design. “So, this could be over 100,000 [in the city]?” DeJulio asked, also inquiring if Verizon could stretch the distance between each pole to help give more flexibility on placements. Hartley stated that they may be able to stretch the distance to 600 feet.

Although Georgia SB 66 regulates the placement of mini-cell towers in public rights-of-way, residents said the ordinance the city approved to prepare for the new state law “didn’t go far enough to protect us, the residents.”

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