Montgomery Co. passes 5G wireless amendment; some residents raise safety concerns

Maryland

The amendment takes effect in 20 days

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County residents will start seeing those 5G antennas in their neighborhoods after the council approved Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07, which would facilitate the deployment of next-generation wireless infrastructure.

The vote was 7-2, with councilmembers Sidney Katz and Will Jawando voting against the Zoning Text Amendment. The small 5G towers are light poles that will offer faster internet speeds. ZTA 19-07 was first introduced in 2019, but the previous council took up the issues of telecommunications towers and small cell antennas. Those who support the bill believe there is an ever-increasing demand for mobile broadband services combined with the evolving technical needs of the wireless industry requiring legislative action for the county to maintain its competitive edge.

Many residents are still on edge about the possible health effects from having towers in close proximity. Montgomery County Councilmember, Tom Hucker said, “The pandemic has shown us how much our society relies more than ever on digital infrastructure, and the deep and persistent divides between those who have reliable access and those who have not, as well as other disparities in our society.” Advocate, Theodora Scarato stated, “We need to share what has happened, and then we neet to get it reversed. Maybe bring it to a vote for the entire Montgomery County voting public.”

The bill takes effect in 20 days.

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