Crown Castle applied to install six new small cells in north Ocean City, MD to enhance service. The Dispatch reported that the Mayor and Council reviewed the request during a meeting on Tuesday and voted 5-to-1 to deny the construction of the towers in Montego Bay. Many residents were on hand, voicing both support and opposition to the project.
The biggest concern from residents in the Montego Bay area was over aesthetics, with health concerns coming in second. Resident Holly Donovan said, “Cell towers are out of character with our neighborhood,” described as an “old-fashioned family neighborhood.”
Conversely, Montego Bay resident Eric Waterman said the small cells “could greatly improve wireless service in underserved areas of the community.” He added that a recent survey of homeowners showed 219 in favor and 104 against the towers.
According to Crown Castle Government Relations Specialist Trey Spear, the council meeting’s objective was to review locations, which lack coverage, not the design and engineering, which would come later. “Ocean City has changed dramatically,” he said. “As more and more users come on, we need to plan for the next five to ten years. The total user-hours have increased dramatically in Ocean City.”
According to The Dispatch, Crown’s legal counsel sent a letter to the Mayor and Council that, although its contents were not published, advised the town administration they were powerless to stop the buildout. The town has already approved desired locations and the aesthetics of the poles in a pre-existing agreement with Crown.
“Crown Castle is providing a service that could help ease the proliferation of cell towers,” said Council President Matt James. “The town cannot deny them,” he said. “The town can work with them on the aesthetics and locations. As a town, we do have a right to have a voice, but we cannot deny them.”