Windermere Leaders Claim New Bill Violates the Home Rule
The Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act, signed into effect by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is being met with opposition by Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn and other local officials. The Orange Observer reported the bill “intended to streamline the application process for service providers to construct infrastructure for future 5G technology on public rights-of-way,” limits the government’s regulatory power over the location of small cells.
Mayor Bruhn commented, “When they call it small cell devices, they are not talking about the size of the device — what they are talking about is its range. Small cell, meaning the size of the cell that it covers. One of these poles only serves about two city blocks, so that means you have these every two blocks. And they are allowed to construct them in our rights-of-way. We cannot dictate, we cannot control, we cannot charge and we cannot deny. But we can find issue when they make mistakes.”
Local officials believe the bill threatens the Home Rule. Additionally, officials are concerned about the number of poles (up to 50 feet high) that can be constructed in one area; many poles will not be shared by different providers, causing worry over the number that might be clustered together. Officials fear this will attribute to negative aesthetic impact in the rights-of-way.
Windermere leaders have already denied an application for a tower proposed in front of the elementary school after the bill went into effect. Officials have asked for renegotiation on the location and clarification on the tower height.