UPDATE Opponents of a slew of Verizon Wireless cell towers in Sonoma, CA are celebrating a partial win after the telecom dropped its plans for seven towers in residential areas. The Sonoma Index-Tribune reported that although Verizon will still build three towers, it’s restricted from installing 5G without further review.
According to Heidi Flato, a spokesperson for Verizon, “We are withdrawing seven residential applications that are currently tolled, and we are accepting the current conditions of approval for the three commercial sites.”
The permits for the three towers, which will be no higher than 33 feet, 2 inches, were approved with the following conditions:
- Verizon would be required to place a single radio in an underground vault instead of mounting it to a pole as the telecom had proposed.
- A Use Permit modification would be required if Verizon Wireless uses new technology to increase effective radiating power greater than 25 percent.
In June, the city denied the appeal by local opponents of ultra-high frequency (UHF) radiation to reject all new cell installations in town, but now, the Sonoma Neighbors for Safe Tech are celebrating.
“Good news!” Lin Marie DeVincent announced on the group’s Facebook page. “Thanks to our community resistance to Verizon’s installation of seven small cell towers in our Sonoma residential neighborhoods, Verizon has agreed to withdraw those seven applications!”
The Verizon project dates back to 2018, when the telecom proposed 10 towers inside city limits, three in commercial areas, and seven in residential zones, reported the Index-Tribune. Verizon aims to improve coverage and supply faster bandwidth for both cell and wireless service in Sonoma, according to the Tribune.
Verizon hasn’t heard the last of Sonoma Neighbors for Safe Tech yet. “Verizon will have one year to install the towers,” DeVincent said. “We plan to continue our attempts to stop the installations, with any and all possible arguments.”