Small Cell Ordinance Up for Debate in Detroit Suburb


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In a preemptive move to maintain control over small cell infrastructure, Michigan’s Clawson City Council members unanimously approved a first draft ordinance aimed to regulate facilities within their city limits. Regarding carriers, Councilman Lou Samson said, “If we work together, we can direct them on how we want it done. If we just allow them to permit it, they can just bulldoze us over and put up whatever they want, and that’s not a good thing, so we want to be ahead of the game.”

According to C&G News, Samson worked in the wireless industry from 2001 to 2018 managing radio frequency compliance in communities across Michigan and other states. Mayor Reese Scripture said, “He would go before councils. He is very aware, frankly, of some of the tricks pulled on the other side.”

Interim City Attorney Renis Nushaj said Samson’s experience will help them understand the technicalities of small cell infrastructure and design so the public works department and engineers are equipped to address incoming applications. 

“I’m willing to work with [DPW Director Matthew Hodges] and his group and really give them a 5G 101 course and help them through the first couple of applications,” said Samson.

Samson said he believed the ordinance is a “real good thing” to bring the latest technology to Clawson, but the future of 5G depends on the carriers’ willingness to collaborate, reported C&G News.

“We hope to drive them towards doing a neutral host in the same box, or instead of two boxes, have one box and separate plugs for each carrier, and that will keep the number of boxes down,” Samson said. “We want to make sure nobody puts it right outside a second-story window [to reduce] radiation in the neighborhood and the bedroom of someone’s house.”

A second reading of the ordinance will be voted on tonight via Zoom conference:

Read the ordinance here. Search for “City Council Packet June 16, 2020.” 

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