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:
- 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, and it will be on 24/7, with no way to escape it.
- Research shows that trees, plants, pollinators and wildlife are harmed by wireless radiation.
- 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.
- U.S. guidelines are 100X higher than most other countries –– another testimony to the urgent need to update them –– as per the next bullet explaining the emissions guidelines case against the FCC –– the case awaiting decision in the DC Circuit Court.
- It is premature to lock in new County rules. 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 of Environmental Health Trust et al. v 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 heard on 1/25/2021 –– and the case is now awaiting the Court’s decision.
- Montgomery County itself has pointed to potential irreversible health risks. In 2019, Montgomery County’s own legal brief stated: “If the new 5G environment, in fact, poses health risks, any prior rollout of 5G will have potentially injured citizens of Montgomery County and other municipalities, including sensitive populations like children, that cannot be undone. Such a result would be unconscionable.” (page 55) 19-70147 Montgomery County, Maryland v. FCC.
- 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.
- Preemption results in loss of revenue for localities, increased costs, and increased risk for substandard cell tower installations.
- 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.
- Use your address to find your district here.
- Marc Elrich, County Executive email@example.com
- At-Large: Hans Riemer, Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7964 (Hans Riemer is the sponsor of ZTA 19-07).
- At-Large: Will Jawando, Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7811
- District 1: Andrew Friedson, Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7828 (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, 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
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.
Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD
Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods