New Petition: Repeal ZTA 19-07 and ZTA 22-01. Effects are harmful to residents and neighborhoods

October 25, 2022. A sad day. Thrive 2050 and ZTA 22-01 were both passed by the Montgomery County Council. This is not over! We will not stand by and allow cell towers 30 feet from our homes! We won’t stand for gentrification and displacement!

“Shame on all of you — we hold you accountable,” yelled a woman in the audience after the vote for ZTA 22-01.

We are stronger together and we will be heard!! @MoCoCouncilMD get use to using that gavel. — EPICofMoCo (@EPICofMoCo) October 25, 2022

Two important actions you can take:

  1. Sign the new petition to repeal ZTA19-07 and ZTA 22-01 (link below), and
  2. Vote by Nov. 8: View our updated 2022 General Election Voter Guide (link below).

SIGN THE PETITION TO RESTORE
RESIDENTS’ INTERESTS!
actionnetwork.org/petitions/moco-cell-towers

The Montgomery County Council has passed new zoning that allows cell towers 30 feet from houses and apartments and removes residents previous rights to notice and hearings — eliminating the community from the decision making process.

Use this link to “ADD YOUR NAME” to sign our petition!

Dear Incoming County Council and the County Executive,

We urge you to:

1. Take action to immediately repeal ZTA 19-07 and ZTA 22-01, which allow cell towers 30 feet from homes.

2. Reform wireless zoning and regulation in Montgomery County, with input from residents.

View – Print –  Share!

UPDATED: General Election 2022 – Voter Guide

Don’t want cell towers 30 feet (or less) from your bedroom?
VOTE! BY November 8, 2022

Voter Guide to candidates who support residents’ interests when it comes to cell towers

County Council and County Executive general election, Montgomery County, MD

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our Rally opposing ZTA 22-01

We’re still in this! Also, BIG Thanks to Fox5DC and @thesierrafox for helping to uplift our voices, raising more awareness.

The rally was held Tuesday October 11th
On the steps of the County Council Building
100 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD

Share the news coverage with friends! Post on social media!
https://www.fox5dc.com/news/residents-protest-cell-towers-in-montgomery-county

Re-tweet

 

!

Second news report.

https://youtu.be/f4N1ZMN3ecE

Rally Highlight: Marion Edey, long-time Environmental Activist and once Founder of the National League of Conservation Voters (LCV), discusses the known impacts of cell towers on the environment.

Rally Highlight: Rick Meyer, President MC4T.org

Listen to what MoCo Residents want from the Montgomery County Council regarding cell antennas 30 feet from homes!

 

https://youtu.be/AzFAlBAwhEc

Rally Highlight: Rick Meyer, President MC4T.org

Listen to how #MoCo Residents have been repeatedly ignored by #MoCoCouncilMD over cell antennas 30 feet from homes at our rally against ZTA 22-01.

 

Residents Testify in Unanimous Opposition to Cell Tower ZTA 22-01 at a Truncated Daytime Public Hearing

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01, Antenna on Existing Structure – Use Standards
Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 1:30 – 2:30pm

ZTA 22-01 lets carriers turn utility and light poles into cell towers just 30 feet from homes, with no prior notice to nearby residents and no chance for hearing or appeal.

The Council conducted a truncated afternoon public hearing despite letters from hundreds of residents urging Council President Gabe Albornoz (At-Large) to either cancel all action on the ZTA and let the incoming Council review cell-tower zoning issues, or at least schedule a full, evening hearing to allow time for many more residents eager to testify against it. More than two dozen residents on the wait list were never given an opportunity to testify at the hearing. Casey Anderson (Head of the Planning Board appointed by Hans Riemer and the Council) was given a priority and took up a speakers slot and then deviated from that topic to talk about zoning on pools and their enclosures. Not a single resident testified in favor—only Casey, Crown Castle and MD 5G Partnership.

Watch the entire hearing testimony starting here: https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=105

Name Representing Time
Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, Somerset Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=317
Laura Simon Ethiogreen https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=452
Deborah Norris, Ph.D. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=582
Rick Meyer MC4T.ORG https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=719
Robert J. Montgomery Clear Vistas https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1017
Sue P. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1164
Susan L. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1288
Susannah G. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1427
Theodora Scarato, MSW Environmental Health Trust https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1532
Colleen C. Community Vision for Takoma https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1671
Anna O. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1807
Michelle B. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1929
Katherine K. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=2066

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01: Effects are harmful and unfair to residents and neighborhoods

  1. The FCC’s recent big loss in court proves what residents warned all along: The Council can’t trust the FCC’s safety standards for wireless radiation to protect our families. A federal appeals court ruled that the FCC failed to show that its 25-year-old safety limits for wireless radiation are based on science! Residents have asked the Council to wait for the FCC to justify or provide a reasoned explanation based on science for its RF limits.
  2. ZTA 22-01 takes aim at the rights-of-ways in residential zones that abut homes that are on smaller lots and have shorter setbacks. Persons of color and persons of low and modest incomes live in these homes with greater frequency than the County population at large. See New Report by Project WTF: SAY NO to Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01 — Effects are harmful and unfair to residents and neighborhoods.
  3. 5G would be a huge new energy hog — intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  4. 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  5. 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  6. The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  7. ZTA 22-01’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G in our neighborhoods. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  8. Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. The RESJ statement for ZTA 22-01 is based on industry funded report.  ZTA 22-01, if passed will evade proper scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, because the County’s process for cell-tower oversight is broken –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers, even when the rooftop antennas exceed FCC limits.
  9. “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  10. The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  11. The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council were part of an amicus brief supporting the landmark court case against the FCC. Residents have asked the Council to wait for the FCC to justify or provide a reasoned explanation based on science for its RF limits.
  12. In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to [do] that…so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 22-01 undermines the prospect of waiting for updated RF limits   –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  13. Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, causes biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure. Read more.
  14. Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas: firefighters suffered neurological damage, and injuries in Switzerland.
  15. 256 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 44 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of August 2022.
  16. The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  17. As of September 2022, 302,301 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

For Immediate Release. Statement by Rick Meyer, Executive Director, Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T) –Whoops, PHED Committee Chair Goofs Again; ZTA 19-07 Needs Big Band-Aid

For Immediate Release

Statement by: Rick Meyer, Executive Director,
Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T)

Whoops, PHED Committee Chair Goofs Again; ZTA 19-07 Needs Big Band-Aid

Councilmember Hans Reimer is fully admitting that he and the wireless industry lobbyists, who last year essentially spoon-fed the Montgomery County Council zoning language for ZTA 19-07, made a Titanic-sized mistake. A mistake so big it requires a “Mulligan ZTA” to repair a giant hole.

Today, Mr. Riemer introduced ZTA 2022-01, which is “fix-it” legislation to specifically include utility poles. Turns out that utility poles are separately defined under County wireless zoning code and not subject to ZTA 19-07. To fix the hole requires a ZTA 2022-01 patch job. Which means Mr. Reimer is also effectively conceding that when recommending ZTA 19-07 to the full Council, the PHED Committee that he chairs (including Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Will Jawando), inexplicably managed to omit the essential giveaway that the wireless industry coveted most: Unfettered access to more than 30,000 utility poles in Montgomery County!

Further, ZTA 2022-01 will cut in half the minimum set-back distance in residential zones to just 30 feet for utility poles instead of the 60 feet that applies now. The “do over” illustrates that neither Mr. Riemer nor his co-sponsors (Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice) had any idea when ZTA 19-07 was drafted back in 2018 how the wireless sections of Montgomery County’s complicated zoning code actually worked .

And even though Mr. Riemer’s PHED Committee added radical amendments offering up incredible handouts and concessions just to benefit wireless corporations (and ignoring opposition testimony of dozens of residents) ZTA 19-07 still wasn’t good enough! Those amendments included lopsided procedures and low-ball fees for conditional use hearings.

It took Mr. Riemer 5 years of flailing away at various failed wireless ZTAs to finally pass an industry written ZTA 19-07. He did so under the cover of the COVID-19 global health crisis that locked us all in our homes. He relied on “virtual” Council meetings with no further public hearings in the 20 months since the one and only public hearing – that was based only upon early un-amended drafts of the zoning change. After all that maneuvering , the wireless lobbyists belatedly discovered they’d managed (from their viewpoint) to pass a profoundly flawed ZTA 19-07.

So, Mr. Riemer and the wireless lobbyists now want more – they want ALL those utility poles just 30 feet from dwellings – and he is unabashedly asking the County Council to further pander to the wireless industry, again, by voting for a Mulligan (“do-over”) ZTA 2022-01.

Nice job, Councilmember Riemer. Go ahead, take another swing.

#30#

Don’t want a cell tower 30 feet from your bedroom window?

Join us to help defeat ZTA 22-01Stop ZTA 19-07 Yard Photo

The County Council is at it again. They want to pass yet another bill to make it even easier to build thousands of additional cell towers 30 feet from homes, on existing utility or light poles. This new bill comes despite adopting ZTA 19-07 last year, a zoning law the Council pushed through for the wireless industry over residents’ intense objections.

  • CLICK HERE TO USE OUR 1-MINUTE TOOL TO EMAIL THE COUNCIL.

Tell Council President Gabe Albornoz (At-Large) and the rest of the lame-duck Council to cancel the hearing on ZTA 22-01 and allow the incoming Council to consider any changes to the zoning code. (The lead sponsor of 22-01 lost in his primary election bid, but is intent on one more handout to the wireless industry before leaving office this winter.

 

Jan. 18th, 2022 Testimony for Montgomery County Council Hearings on Resolutions to Implement Rules and Fees Related to ZTA 19-07

Jan. 18th , 2022 Testimony for Montgomery County Council Hearings on Resolutions to Implement Rules and Fees Related to ZTA 19-07

Colleen Cordes, Takoma Park. Please reject both proposals to implement ZTA 19-07.

Instead, immediately rescind ZTA 19-07. Don’t implement it while the FCC is in the midst of responding to its new court mandate to come up with a well-reasoned explanation for whatever exposure limits for wireless radiation it endorses. This should require the FCC to thoroughly review ALL science related to the safety of its exposure limits for health and the environment – which should be aided by robust reviews from pertinent federal agencies. The FCC should then come up with new exposure limits that are fully supported by such thorough scientific review.

As a body, you should strongly advocate directly to the FCC and our Congressional delegation for such robust review of ALL the science – and truly protective new limits. And drop any idea of implementing ZTA 19-07. Its assumption that it’s safe to drastically weaken County rules for placing cell towers is now clearly obsolete.

In July, seven of you irresponsibly rushed to vote for this ZTA, even though you knew a US Court of Appeals was expected to rule within weeks against the FCC, due to the FCC’s obvious failure to provide evidence its wireless safety limits are well-grounded in science. Yet several of you assured your constituents that we could trust FCC limits to protect us.

Now it’s clear you were wrong. The validity of the FCC’s limits are absolutely up in the air. Read the court’s blistering ruling. It found that FCC showed no sign of having taken into account reams of submitted evidence on children’s special vulnerability to radiation, effects of long-term exposures, non-cancer effects, the proliferation of wireless since FCC set limits 25 years ago, and impacts to wildlife and the environment. Any legal pressure on you to pass weak new zoning rules – which was never as onerous as you imagined – is now much less. Instead, your moral and potential legal exposure is now much greater if you do not rescind this ZTA.

Please stand up for science. Rescind this ZTA. Press FCC, based on a thorough review of ALL the science, to issue a well-reasoned explanation for new exposure limits that are truly protective. Thank you.

***

An Unsupported Rationale: The So-Called Legal Case for Montgomery County’s ZTA 19-07 Falls Apart

July 12, 2021

Peter L. Kahn, J.D., Ph.D.
Montgomery County Resident

Summary

The County Council appears poised to adopt ZTA 19-07 in part because some members believe that doing so is legally required. That is simply not the case.

Give the Community a Voice: Support A Stakeholder Advisory Group.

E-MAIL THE COUNTY COUNCIL TODAY IN LESS THAN A MINUTE!

One basis for believing this is the FCC’s Small Cell Orders of 2018, which proposes a “material inhibition” standard for the courts to use in evaluating claims under Section 332 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 — in other words, does a denial of a permit for a cell antenna “materially inhibit” the placement or construction of wireless cell facilities. Most denials of permits will materially inhibit their placement, and thus this standard strongly favors the interests of telecom companies. However, literally no federal court has adopted this standard for cases under Section 332, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has made it clear that the FCC has no authority to change the federal courts’ interpretations of federal law. The standard that has always been used, and continues to be used, by the Courts of Appeals across the country is the “effective prohibition” standard. It asks, does this denial of permit effectively prohibit the provision of cell service? This is a much tougher standard for telecoms to meet, especially when cell service is already abundantly available from multiple carriers. But the “effective prohibition” standard continues to be applied by all the Courts of Appeals for such cases, and no court anywhere has abandoned that standard in favor of the FCC’s preferred “material inhibition” standard for cases under Section 332.

The other basis offered for believing that ZTA 19-07 is legally necessary is the recent case City of Portland v. FCC. In that case, the Ninth Circuit looked at proposed regulations arising under a completely different section of the Telecommunications Act, that is, Section 253. The court in that case applied a “material inhibition” standard, just as it always has in cases arising under Section 253. One might be forgiven for confusing the Section 253 “material inhibition” standard, with the FCC’s proposed “material inhibition” standard for Section 332, but in fact they have different origins. City of Portland did not deal with Section 332, and clearly did not adopt a “material inhibition” standard for Section 332 cases. The “effective prohibition” standard for cases under Section 332 remains in effect in every federal circuit, including the Ninth Circuit.

Section 332 of the Act specifically deals with the “placement, construction, or modification,” of personal wireless facilities — in other words, the very subject matter that the proposed ZTA 19-07 deals with. Any legal claims that might be prevented by the adoption of 19-07 would (in the absence of 19-07) be evaluated by the courts under the legal standard that has always been applied to Section 332 — in other words, the “effective prohibition” standard — because those claims would arise under Section 332, dealing with “placement, construction, or modification” of cell facilities. The FCC’s Small Cell Orders did not change that. The City of Portland case did not change that. Under every federal Court of Appeals in the country, cases dealing with “placement, construction, or modification” of cell facilities will be examined under Section 332 under an unchanged “effective prohibition” standard.

In Montgomery County, a telecom asking for review under Section 332’s “effective prohibition” standard is likely to lose. Our County already has excellent cell service. Just look at the coverage maps published on their websites by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It will be challenging for any permit applicant to claim seriously that our County has “effectively prohibited” cell service. In truth, we are in full compliance with federal law, and any legal claims against Montgomery County’s local governments will be very difficult for the telecom applicant to win.

Indeed, adopting ZTA 19-07 would itself be a massive change in the standards for cell placement — it would take away virtually all local control, and grant to any telecom the right to use any piece of public property it wishes. This would constitute a massive give-away of epic proportions to the telecom industry, and would be a policy and legal mistake of the first order.

Read the full PDF in the viewer below or download here.

 

Research Indicates that Trees are Harmed by Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation: Tell MoCo Leaders to Protect Trees in Our Neighborhoods!

RF Radiation Likely Harms Trees — Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

The dense network of small-cell towers on poles in front of our homes that proposed County ZTA 19-07 promotes will require pruning and removal of untold number of trees. (Professional arborists’ rule of thumb is that if more than 25% of a tree canopy is to be pruned at any one time, the whole tree should be cut down. Even worse, research indicates that the trees left behind that are close to antennas would also be harmed from constant exposure to radio-frequency radiation.

Consider the independent research below related to the impacts on trees:

 

Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

Urgent Action: Cell Towers Coming to #MoCo Homes if ZTA 19-07 passes. Please share widely

Tech Wise MoCo MD news banner

Dear Mo Co Friends and Neighbors,

This is it! The Mo Co Council is set to hold a work session on ZTA 19-07 that, if passed:

  • Allows short “small” cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes.
  • Our street lights can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • Our utility poles can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • No required notice or public hearing so long as they are 30 feet from homes!

Opposed to the removal of our right to participate in the decision making process?

We need you to take action. Join us! Sign our petition to County leaders opposing the ZTA.

History of the bill

In January of this year Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer re-introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that will allow small cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes. The PHED (Planning, Housing and Economic Development) Committee made additional changes that allowed existing street lights and utility poles to be replaced by stronger, wider poles to hold the cell antennas and heavy equipment. This bill has been rejected 5 times over the last 5 years but Councilmember Riemer keeps bringing it back.

Read MC4T’s SUMMARY OF What’s in ZTA 19-07: Montgomery County Council Poised to Vote on Radical ZTA 19-07 – IMPOSES CELL TOWERS NEAR HOMES – WITH NO MINIMUM SETBACKS!

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

Below are top issues raised around the World, the U.S. and by your Montgomery County neighbors about wireless installations—especially 5G—placed so close to homes:

  • Loss of local control over our historic rights of way in our own communities.
  • Eliminates resident voice in plans for cell towers; no resident notification and no public hearing required about cell towers in residential areas if placed 30 feet or more from homes.
  • Where 5G coverage is desired, it may be supplied from 5G signal transmitted from 3,000 feet up to 3 miles or more from antennas to homes.
  • 5G coverage already exists in many parts of the County. Check the coverage map for T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
  • 5G is NOT faster.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • Concerns about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA).
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • MoCo has demonstrated a total lack of transparency and accountability with these local cell towers so far; this will just get worse as the number of small cell antennas vastly expands.
  • Bias towards industry—and its 5G propaganda—is short-circuiting elected officials’ duty to prioritize public interests.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • 255 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 45 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of January 14, 2021.
  • As of June 2021, 301,023 signatories from 214 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Montgomery County residents have continuously and strongly opposed the previous as well as the current proposed ZTA. Here are video-recordings from the two most recent public hearings:

Watch these informative presentations on the issues surrounding the ZTA:

Join our Petition to STOP the Cell Tower ZTA 19-07. It just takes a minute!

You may also contact the Mo Co Councilmembers directly by phone or individual emails.

However you contact the Council, please make sure you do it TODAY!

Contact us to be added to our e-News & Action Alerts. We will post many updates, including on upcoming public hearings, in these alerts.

 

For those who have asked how to help, please contact us if you are interested in receiving flyers and yard signs for your neighborhood. We also have PDF flyers and handouts available to download.

Share this email with with your Mo Co friends and neighbors.

Thank you,

Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD

Tech Wise Montgomery County Maryland logo

TechWiseMoCoMD.org

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

MoCoSafeG.org Sample Letters: URGENT-OPPOSE CELL ANTENNAS IN FRONT OF OUR HOMES

STOP ZTA 19-07 – Contact the Montgomery County Council Today! —

Update: Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07. Email County Council TODAY through our Online Email Campaign: actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

County Councilmember Hans Riemer has revived his 2019 proposal to let cell towers be built as close as 30 feet from our houses—on streetlights and utility poles, possibly two or more on a block. It does not correct the horrific 2018 setback of just 10 feet from homes in mixed-use zones. Despite strong resident opposition, Mr. Riemer seems eager to push this Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) through while everyone else is preoccupied by the pandemic. The Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee that he chairs voted to pass this ZTA on March 10th and now it goes to the County Council. It’s urgent to voice your concerns to the Council ASAP.

We need stronger safety reviews, oversight & restrictions—not thousands more cell towers, which is what we’ll get with ZTA 19-07!

Click image to enlarge. Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07 & fix what is wrong with the current cell-tower siting rules!

Lining our neighborhoods with small cell towers would increase climate change, reduce property values, beam radio-frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation 24/7 into our homes -– just to name a few issues. (See details below!) A map exists of the intended plan for densification (cancel sign-in to gain access).

Even worse, in the past year, informed residents have exposed just how inept the County’s current oversight of existing wireless facilities is –– especially the antennas allowed to accumulate on top of affordable multi-family apartments without any inspections or measurements. No one, it turns out, knows for sure that the families who live directly under them are not being exposed to illegal levels of RF radiation! Please urge Mr. Riemer, the rest of the Council, and the County Executive to act immediately to end this blatant environmental injustice –– instead of rushing to inflict similar safety and health hazards on every resident in the County.

Mr. Riemer is a big fan of 5G. He apparently buys all of the telecom industry’s pro-5G advertising. However, what industry never mentions in their advertising are the many downsides to implementing 5G, including:

  • 5G would be a huge new energy hog — intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • ZTA 19–07’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G in our neighborhoods. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  • Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. However, zoning legislation will not be subject to the bill until September 2021 because of a transition clause. ZTA 19-07, if passed before then, will evade such scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, because the County’s process for cell-tower oversight is broken –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers, even when the rooftop antennas exceed FCC limits.
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council are part of an amicus brief supporting this same promising, landmark court case against the FCC. The case seems likely to push the FCC to thoroughly review decades of science indicating its 25–year–old exposure guidelines for wireless radiation are not applicable to modern technology, and to update them accordingly. Oral arguments were just heard in late January.
  • In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to that…so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 19–07 undermines the promising new effort above –– involving Takoma Park officials –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  • Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, cause biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure.
  • Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas: firefighters suffered neurological damage, cancer cluster at an elementary school with tower , and injuries in Switzerland.
  • 252 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 43 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of October 2019.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • As of March 2020, 203,659 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Below is a sample letter you can personalize and send to your District member and all At-Large Montgomery County Council members (Glass, Albornoz, Jawando, and Riemer, the sponsor). Include your address on your District letter.

Note: Councilmember Riemer is the lead sponsor, while Gabe Albornoz, County Council Vice President, and Craig Rice, Councilmember for District 2, are co-sponsors. However, they are not on Mr. Riemer’s PHED committee, which is taking the lead on ZTA 19–07. The only other two members of that committee are Councilmember Jawando and Councilmember Friedson, so please be sure to contact them ASAP!

If you would like to help on this issue or get more information, please email our great group of informed citizens at info@mocosafeg.org

To: Montgomery County Council

Short:

I am writing to request that you vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow densified 4G and 5G “small” cell microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. I oppose deploying untested, ultra-high frequency microwave radiation in Montgomery County. Several lawsuits against the FCC for its unreasonable Orders and outdated exposure guidelines have been brought to court by Montgomery County and its affiliates. We ask you to table this amendment until all devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. In the meantime, rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections for our communities until FCC standards are safer for people and the environment.

Likewise, require warnings be made mandatory for every Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc. The robust promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new, therefore another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Stronger:

The undersigned organizations and individuals request that you publicly oppose and vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow deployment of intensified 4G and new 5G “small cell” microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. We support a wired-based, fiber to the premises solution as the more secure, cheaper, faster technical solution without the property devaluation, insurance liability, and health risks.

The proposed 4G/5G antennas and their networks are likely to have long standing effects in many areas: climate, the ecosystem in general, privacy invasion, cyber security, reduced property values, and human health –– especially in children. The insurance industry has calculated the medical risks are too high to cover, so the proposed, and existing, wireless infrastructure of towers, antennas, poles, and supporting equipment in Montgomery would have no insurance coverage for damages from long-term exposures.

The 4G microwave radiation infrastructure and devices have more than 2,000 scientific and medical studies linking exposures to biological effects for people, wildlife, and plants. This radiation appears to be especially riskier to children and other medically vulnerable people. Other nations and cities are rejecting 5G and small antennas due to these biological effects. Montgomery County needs to rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections of our communities and establish “safe havens” that accommodate its medically vulnerable population.

The new 5G technology includes ultra-high frequency millimeter microwave radiation, which has higher energy per square meter and greater capacity for risk to people and the environment than 4G. No safety studies have established a level at which this frequency is safe, and 5G service will include 4G, which we already know is dangerous. Warning signs, viewable to the public, Warning signs that are viewable to the public need to be mandatory for every WTF installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc.

Furthermore, Montgomery County was party to a lawsuit against the FCC for their failure to thoroughly review and update their exposure guidelines. Legal challenges continue against the FCC’s guidelines –– most notably, EHT et al vs FCC, for which many Takoma Park elected officials signed on to the Amicus Brief. Additionally, the U.S. District Court of Appeals found in United Keetoowah Band vs FCC (August 9, 2019) that the FCC was “arbitrary and capricious” in exempting 5G infrastructure from health, environmental, and historical review. As a result, the FCC is under judicial order not to proceed with enforcement of their requirement that local jurisdictions pass legislation such as ZTA 19–07.

Alternatives exist with wired networks such as fiber optic, known as “SafeG”. Fiber optic is already in place in many areas. It has no health risks, and the service is documented in locally-owned networks to be much faster, cheaper, more energy efficient, while providing more reliable data integrity and protecting privacy. Wired internet also remains subject to local regulatory control.

Protection of our safety, health, and environment is the primary purpose of our government and of your representation of us, the electorate. We ask you to table this amendment until all medical, scientific, and legal issues are resolved, and the proposed technology, infrastructure, and devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. The heavy promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new. Therefore, another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Use your address to find your district at

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mccouncildistrict/

Marc Elrich, County Executive ocemail@montgomerycountymd.gov

At-Large: Hans Riemer, Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7964

At-Large: Will Jawando, Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7811

District 1: Andrew Friedson, Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7828 (Bethesda, Potomac, and Poolesville)

District 2: Craig Rice, Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7955 (Clarksburg, Damascus, and Germantown)

District 3: Sidney Katz, Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7906 (Gaithersburg and Rockville)

District 4: Nancy Navarro, Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7968 (Colesville, Laytonsville, Olney, and Wheaton)

District 5: Tom Hucker, Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7960 (Burtonsville, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park)

At-Large: Evan Glass, Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7966

At-Large: Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7959