Montgomery Co. Council to vote on cell tower placement

WASHINGTON — The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote on a measure that will amend how and where cell towers can be placed in the county on Wednesday.

The vote comes after the council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee held a hearing on the plan earlier this month.

The zoning text amendment deals with current restrictions on heights, setbacks and enclosures required for equipment.

While telecommunications representatives have testified in favor of the changes they say are needed to deliver 5G wireless service to the region, a number of residents have raised concerns ranging from potential health impacts from radiation to property values.

Sue Present, a Hillandale area resident, said she is concerned about safety and lower property values.

“There are issues about whether the components can fall off,” she said referring to the antennae and equipment used to mount the devices.

She said she is also concerned about the ability of utility poles to withstand the weight of the antennae.

The council is also scheduled to vote on a zoning amendment on the placement of solar panels on Wednesday.

Present said she worries the council hasn’t considered how one amendment could affect the other.

“The antennae that could be placed on neighboring buildings could obscure the opportunities for solar collection,” she said.

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