Small Cells Unwelcome In Toledo

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Although 5G has not gone live in Toledo, OH small cell infrastructure began arriving two years ago, reported Government Technology, City officials have already issued 129 small cell permits, though not all poles have been installed.

According to Government Technology, many of the new metal poles have been installed in commercial areas, attracting little attention. However, when small cells appeared in neighborhoods, residents complained. Since all small cells are installed in city rights-of-ways, they’re not subject to zoning approval like towers, so they’re arrival came as a surprise to many.

Resident Lynette Swantack complained about the lack of communication from the city and telecommunications providers when a small cell was erected near her home. “They put that thing up and didn’t tell me anything about it,” said Swantack. Workers who constructed the pole in front of her house said, “she’d get used to it,” but after several years, Swantack said, “I hate that thing.”

She and other residents questioned why the poles were put near their homes instead of around the block on a busy street with commercial establishments. KEPS Technologies of Lansing, MI, on behalf of Verizon Wireless, constructed a pole in front of Gary and Joyce Groneau’s house.

“There’s no reason why they should put it in our front yard rather than across the street,” said resident Joyce Groneau. “Who wants to buy a house with a big cell tower now?”

According to Doug Stephens, Toledo engineering services commissioner, the city could ask the tower to be moved no farther than 50 feet from the requested location, reported Government Technology. However, there are limitations, like not allowing a municipality to set any requirement that blocks cellular service to any location. If the city proposes an alternate site, the wireless operator must accept it if it can do so “on reasonable conditions and terms,” and the alternative “does not impose technical limits or additional costs.”

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