Small Cells Hit the Beach With Placement Options

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At a recent City Council hearing reviewing municipal code amendments in Laguna Beach, residents made one thing clear – they don’t want 5G in their town, reported the Daily Pilot. As a next step, Council members direct city staff to investigate concerns, which included possible issues with noise, mandatory testing, warning signs, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, as well as proximity to school and daycare sites, parks and medical facilities. 

Councilwoman Sue Kempf said her primary concern was fire safety. 

She noted the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s categorization of much of the city as a very high fire hazard severity zone could help control the deployment of towers.

Mayor Bob Whalen recommended that the city push as, “aggressively as we can to require maximum spacing and minimum number of deployments.” Whalen added, “We’re trying to put in place a better ordinance. We’re not trying to create a system where we’re saying, ‘Everyone bring in your 5G and put it on every street corner.’” 

According to Whalen, the city’s new rules will take into account, “a lot of the concerns that we all have regarding aesthetics, regarding placement, regarding construction, regarding modification of facilities.”  

The proposed amendments come as a response to FCC small cell regulations enacted in September 2018 to streamline the introduction of 5G. The 5G push has received backlash, though, from multiple California towns over public health concerns linked to higher-frequency radio waves. 

Several Laguna residents referenced litigation filed by other jurisdictions that alleges the FCC overstepped its regulatory boundaries, per the Daily Pilot. That matter is currently pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Whalen says the city “can’t sit by and do nothing.” He believes that making changes to the code will be better for residents and Laguna Beach as a whole.

November 15, 2019

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