Small Cells Come to Huntington: “A Whole Lot of Ugly For Just $10,000 a Year”

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Last month, Mayor Steve Williams announced AT&T would bring 5G service to Huntington, making it the first in the state to receive the technology. The small cells — totaling 30 to 40 — would be placed throughout neighborhoods without the council’s prior approval, according to the Herald-Dispatch.

According to Assistant City Attorney Ericka Hernandez, the 5G technology is, “highly, highly regulated” by the FCC. 

Due to this factor, municipalities do not have control over where the towers are placed on public right-of-ways and only have the option to implement design standards before the towers are installed.   

“We can require them to have all the components internalized,” Hernandez said. “We can require them to have a light feature or require them to have flower hangers or baskets, that sort of thing.”   

The towers can’t be higher than 50 feet and need to be placed approximately 500 feet apart, which is the length of the average city block, reported the Herald-Dispatch.

Because of FCC regulations, Hernandez said the city needs to implement design standards by April 15 or the city will lose the right to have any input on the designs. The Planning and Zoning Commission is awaiting the council’s approval before creating the standards.

The towers will generate $270 annually each for the 30 to 40 placed around town, which is approximately $10,800 a year.

“I just think it’s a whole lot of ugly for just $10,000 a year,” said Committee member Carol Polan.

Committee members agreed to move the ordinance to the full city council without making a recommendation in support, reported the Herald-Dispatch.

March 13, 2019

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