Nov 19 2019

Wireless Sites Approved by City Council Over Residents Protests

The November 18, 2019, Council meeting went on for hours as numerous residents appealed to the Council to reject the proposed wireless sites.  At the beginning of the meeting, speakers were surprised by Mayor Robert McBain’s declaration limiting speakers to 2 minutes rather than the standard 3 minutes forcing last minute rewrites of prepared statements. 

Opponents noted serious health concerns, destruction of views, harm to Piedmont  aesthetics, loss in property values, lack of demonstrated need for the proposed sites, improper surveys, need to wait for court resolution of pending lawsuits relevant to Piedmont, and incomplete application information. 

Although pleas and great concerns were expressed by neighbors living near the Crown Castle proposed wireless installations sites, the Council unanimously approved all the proposed sites while adding new conditions for their approval.

A potential ongoing lawsuit with Crown Castle weighed heavily on Council members decision who saw better ways to spend Piedmont funds than legally challenging the large corporation.  Some Council members extensively questioned the proposals and were concerned by the many communications the Council received opposing the sites.

Led by Piedmont’s contract attorneys and the Piedmont Planning staff,  the Council was convinced to approve the sites based on compliance with Piedmont laws, despite the Planning Commission’s vote recommending denial of the proposals.

Since the sites are essentially  governed by the Federal Communication Commission, state laws, and are a part of the public utility system, the Council feared the next proposal could be less advantageous than the current proposal.

The Council predicted that numerous future proposals are virtually guaranteed with 50 sites in other areas of Piedmont. Driving the installation of the wireless communication systems, is the notion that landline communications will soon be replaced by cellular service, even though during emergencies landlines have been essential.

After three years of debate and discussion, the disappointed opponents left the Council Chambers indicating they did not feel that the City Council was standing up for Piedmont’s greater good.

One Response to “Wireless Sites Approved by City Council Over Residents Protests”

  1. I think many of the non-tangible objections were, at best, silly. I am glad that the Council overroad the objections and the Planning Commission on this one.

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