State of Maryland Bill HB 654 Would Severely Restrict Local Control of Cell Towers —

Other Pending State Bills HB 1020 & HB 474 Also Undermine Local Control

Please Call and Send Emails to Key State Legislators to Oppose These Bills.

And speak out at Public Hearing in Annapolis Thursday, Feb. 21st — Must sign up in person before Noon. (Contact info and hearing details below)

Save our new Takoma Park City Ordinance and Montgomery County rules that place at least modest limits on the siting of small cell towers! Our local laws will be pre-empted by the State of Maryland, if a new bill, HB 654, is passed by the Maryland General Assembly. This proposal is reportedly the darling of the wireless industry. Why? Because it would wipe out many of our City and County protections and replace them with much weaker statewide rules!

For example: It would eliminate our County requirements for small cell towers to be certain distances from our homes. And goodbye to tree protections, annual tests to monitor radiation levels emitted from cell antennas, adequate public notice and public input, and most of the other public-interest provisions in our new City ordinance.

This truly horrible bill seems to have opened the gates to other state cell-tower bills, like HB 1020 (SB 713) and HB 474. Whether intended or not, those are also likely to undermine local authority over the siting of small cell towers — just as our City, County, and many other localities are fighting the Federal Communications Commission in court to recognize our authority. Local communities have a right to make our own zoning and land-use decisions, and regulate the use of our public Rights of Way. If the State imposes some new authority over us now, it will reinforce the industry’s position that we locals are yokels – with no right to interfere in their roll-out of a dense network of new cell towers wherever and however they like in our urban neighborhoods. Despite the growing body of scientific evidence that emissions of radio frequency radiation pose real health and environmental risks!

Let’s stand up for local democracy and the safety of our community!

Please call & email:

Delegate Dereck Davis (D-PG County), Chair of the powerful House Economic Matters Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates & Sponsor of HB 654:

Phone: 410-841-3519.  Email:

And the Montgomery County Delegates on the Committee:

* Lorig Charkoudian, Takoma Park resident and our own new District 20 Rep:

Phone: 410.841.3423. Email:

* Kathleen Dumais, also Majority Leader of the House:

Phone: 410-841-3052. Email:

* Lily Qi: Phone : 410-841-3090. Email :

* Pamela Queen: Phone: 410.841.3380. Email:

Please Urge Them: “Do Not Pass HR 654 — or HB 1020 (called SB 713 in the Maryland Senate), HB 474, or ANY bill that pre-empts the authority of local governments to regulate small cell towers. Protect Our Families — Preserve Local Zoning Over Cell Towers!” Let them know our communities deserve and demand to set our own rules on where, when, and if new cell towers are built.

And please come speak out at the public hearing on the three bills – including the truly awful HB 654 – in the House Economic Matters Committee next week, Thursday, Feb. 21, at 1 pm in Annapolis: You must sign up in person before Noon on that day to make a 3-minute comment! To present written testimony, bring 35 copies of your statement with you and deliver them – also before Noon – to the Economic Matters Committee office in Room 231 in the House Office Building located at 6 Bladen Street. The hearing is in Room 230. Questions? Contact the Economic Matters Committee.

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A note about Community Vision for Takoma: Originally formed around a vision for inclusive, vibrant, community-centered development at the Takoma Junction, we are expanding to bring our inclusive,  participatory, community-centered vision to other local issues that affect residents’ health, safety, and quality of life.

Montgomery County Residents Taking Action – Speak Out on HB654

As a longtime Montgomery County resident who is a retired U.S. government scientist does in the letter below:

Subject: Please OPPOSE HB654 “Wireless Facilities – Installation and Regulation”

February 16, 2019

Dear Members of the Economic Matters Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates,

Please OPPOSE HB654 entitled “Wireless Facilities – Installation and Regulation”.

This bill would override the rights of local governments in Maryland to regulate the installation of additional sources of wireless radiation, especially so-called 5G (“Fifth Generation”) cell towers.  The telecommunications industry wants to install these closely spaced cell towers up and down residential and business streets in Maryland.

This bill is an assault on the authority of local governments and thus on local rule.

This bill is an assault on the property rights and aesthetics of individuals and businesses who do NOT want cell towers installed permanently in their front yards with no right of refusal.

This bill is an assault on the health of Maryland residents.  The bill will lead to further increases in the levels of cellular radiofrequency radiation, 24 hours a day, already bombarding our communities.

Cellular radiofrequency radiation has already been shown in thousands of archival peer-reviewed biomedical research publications to have adverse effects on human health.

Most recently, the National Institutes of Health has linked cellular radiation to cancer and to other adverse health consequences, some of which can be fatal.

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified radiofrequency radiation, and specifically cellular radiation, as a Group 2B Human Carcinogen (“possible human carcinogen”).

Such radiation is especially threatening to those most vulnerable:  pregnant women, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, seniors, and those with chronic health conditions.

This bill assaults both privacy and cyber security by increasing the amount of personal and business telecommunications traffic that is placed on the airwaves where it is susceptible to interception and interference.

This bill is a giveaway to the extremely wealthy wireless telecommunications industry which is seeking a new source of profit at public expense.  I would guess that a bill this contrary to the public interest could only result from an intense lobbying effort by highly paid representatives of the telecommunications industry.

Finally, 5G cannot compete with a better communications technology, like fiber-optic technology, which is already installed in Maryland and which produces NO cellular radiofrequency radiation.  Fiber-optic technology is safer, faster, more reliable, more cyber secure, and more private than any cellular wireless technology, including 5G.  Widening the availability of fiber-optic technology is where our emphasis should lie.

Please see for the many concerns raised by 5G, and please see for more information about the impact of wireless technology on health.

Who am I?

I am a retired U.S. Government career scientist.  During my Government career, I worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  I hold a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.  I have been a resident of Montgomery County since 1979.

Thank you for considering these views.


Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.
Montgomery Village, MD


ACTION ALERT – FEB. 12 TH , 2019!!

This is an alert from Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers ( and concerned Montgomery County residents.

We all need to take immediate action. Delegate Dereck Davis, the Chair of the powerful Economic Matters Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates, has introduced a state bill – HB 654We believe that this bill would dismantle local zoning requirements over small cell towers.

He is holding a hearing on this bill NEXT Thursday, February 21 at 1pm. The bill is fully supported by cell tower companies and they have hired lots of lobbyists to push their agenda.

The bill would remove local zoning review in approving small cells. This could mean small cells will be deployed on Maryland street lights, buildings, and near homes without any say from local voices.

That means these towers could be right up next to our homes – mere feet from our bedroom windows.

County and city safety standards would not apply.

Basically, the bill strips the County and our towns and cities from almost all their authority to ensure these facilities are safe and appropriately placed in our communities.

Many of us have worked with our local cities and towns to craft local ordinances to govern the placement of these small cell towers. All of that work would likely be null and void.

Please call the following three members of the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee today. Please email them. Tell them “Do Not Pass HR 654! Protect Our Families! Preserve Local Zoning Over Cell Towers.”

Talmadge Branch | Baltimore City | 45A | 410.841.3398 |
(Mr. Branch is the Majority Whip, a major leadership position in the House)

Dereck Davis | Prince George’s | 25B | 410.841.3519 |
(Mr. Davis is the Chair of the House Economic Matters Committee)

Benjamin Brooks | Baltimore | 10A | 410.841.3352 |
(Mr. Brooks is the Chair of the Public Utilities Subcommittee of the Economic Matters Committee)

Here is a sample note you can send in an email:

Dear Delegate Brooks:

Please oppose this terrible bill!

On February 21, you will hear HB 654. This bill is a giveaway to the telecom industry. At the expense of taxpayers and local communities!

The legislation silences our voices.  This bill would likely obliterate local laws – laws that we as a community have crafted to protect our homes and families. This bill will allow telecommunication companies to place their cell towers with little to no regard for the safety of our community.

Please protect our local communities. Don’t pass this bill or ANY bill which takes away local rights!  Don’t pass this bill or ANY bill which preempts counties and cities rights to regulate small cells.


You can show up in person to testify at the hearing. The more people the better. The hearing is on February 21 at 1pm. BUT YOU MUST SIGN UP IN PERSON BY NOON! State Capitol at the House Office Building which is 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.  The hearing is in Room 230. Bring 35 copies. Written statements can be longer but verbal remarks should only be 3 mins (about 450/500 words).

Send a copy of your email to everyone on the committee.  Below you can cut and paste all of their email addresses.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Takoma Park Residents!

We have an action alert that is specific to Takoma Park.