Taking in the Sun, Sand, and Cell Signals on Rehoboth Beach

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Summer brings a rush of visitors to shore towns. Apparently visitors like nice clean beaches, and strong cell phone signals. In Delaware, towns like Rehoboth Beach are working to keep the town charming and the telecommunications modern, reports CapeGazette.com.

The city is currently working on ordinances that will keep the tower equipment from encroaching on the population, but still meet FCC standards. 

City Manager Sharon Lynn has said that regulations limit what a community can do as telecoms continue to increase their digital footprint.

Within the past year, AT&T has installed five new small cell poles and numerous booster boxes have made a less obtrusive appearance. In 2017, the water tower became host to a tethered COW, which Verizon has its eye on making a permanent occupant.  

The ordinances drafted by the town keep the equipment at least ten feet away from existing structures and allow the town to weigh in on design elements. Cape Gazette notes that the ordinances describe a small wireless facility as, “a structure with an antenna mount that is less than 50 feet in height, no more than 10 percent taller than adjacent structures and not more than 28 cubic feet in volume.” Additionally, an antenna must not be more than three cubic feet in volume.

New structures also come with application fees – $1,000 for a new pole and $500 for a new antenna on an existing pole. A site fee of $270 per year would also apply.  Commissioner Lisa Schlosser said the new rules could provide some healthy competition for local providers. Other commissioners expressed their concerns that zoning changes should try to keep new structures to less than 50 feet tall, and away from the town’s boardwalk.

July 17, 2019

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