Verizon proposes to build 20 small cell towers, less than 50-feet tall, in Tuckahoe, VA, and construction has already begun. Residents are not pleased with the plan or the lack of communication around the project, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
According to county officials, the towers will remedy spotty service in the area and pave the way for 5G technology.
Although some residents admit service could improve, others are concerned over lowered property values and hope to work with Verizon on trying to “maintain the aesthetic of the neighborhood.”
Due to a change in state law last year, the county only needed to provide administrative approval to Verizon as long as the towers are no more than 50-feet tall. “These small cell requests are not subject to that [provisional-use permit] process,” said Joe Emerson, the head of the county’s planning department.
Tuckahoe is not the only place in Virginia, or around the country, affected by new telecom laws as 5G development becomes more critical. Community leaders in various towns, including Virginia Beach, are concerned about losing control over the placement of small cells on public property, per the Times-Dispatch.
According to Arthur Scott, associate legislative director, and political outreach manager for the National Association of Counties, “You’re essentially removing the ability of local residents of having any say in what is or isn’t allowed in their community. If residents are happy with decisions being made, they can vote out board members. They can’t vote out Comcast or Verizon.”
Verizon is holding a community meeting to discuss the project on October 17. This comes after a resident sent several messages to the telecom, requesting an audience.
October 7, 2019