Takoma Park City Council Sends Letter Opposing the Passage of ZTA 19-07

The City Council has sent a letter to the Montgomery County Council opposing the passage of Zoning Text Amendment 19-07 (Telecommunications Towers – Limited Use) as currently drafted.

“The City of Takoma Park wants every resident of Montgomery County to have equitable access to affordable broadband internet. However, everyone should have a voice in the planning process. This ZTA, as currently drafted, would cut municipalities and residents out of the planning and siting process for many new “small” cell towers and strip us of our voices.”

Read the complete letter

This original news alert was published June 23, 2021 on takomaparkmd.gov


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.


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.


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.


Breaking News & Action Alert: County Executive Calls For Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Working Group For Cell Towers Siting in Residential Areas

ScreenShot Marc Elrich memo_re Cell Tower Bill ZTA 1907

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“My staff and I have talked with many residents and industry representatives, and we have found them to be knowledgeable and willing to help improve the process. I would like to propose that we convene a working group comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including industry, residents, municipalities and homeowner/tenant associations and/or non-profit organizations. Staff support would be provided by Executive and Council staff. The group would have a limited time – perhaps 75 -90 days – to present written recommendations. I believe such a group would allow opportunity for a more complete discussion of these issues.” 

“Regarding concerns about ZTA 19-07, I have the following concerns and comments:

  1. The ZTA does not set any proposed minimum setback from a building; it is a limited use  process up to 30 feet from the building and then it is a “modified conditional use” process  for less than 30 feet setback.”

Hats off to Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive, for for actually wanting to engage ALL stakeholders on these complex and important issues!

Call and E-mail  ALL Councilmembers Now and Tell Them You Support Marc Elrich’s Multi-stakeholder Advisory Working Group For Cell Towers Siting in Residential Areas. You may also send an e-mail letter using our Action Network link. It only takes a minute!

phone * e-mail * tweet

Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz (ZTA 19-07 co-sponsor) 240-777-7959

Councilmember Andrew Friedson 240-777-7828
Councilmember.Friedson@ montgomerycountymd.gov

Councilmember Evan Glass 240-777-7966

Tom Hucker (Council President) 240-777-7960

Councilmember Will Jawando 240-777-7811

Councilmember Sidney Katz 240-777-7906

Councilmember Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968

Councilmember Craig Rice (ZTA 19-07 co-sponsor) 240-777-7955

Councilmember Hans Riemer (ZTA 19-07 Lead Sponsor) 240-777-7964

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich 240-777-2500

Watch Now: PRESS BRIEFING June 28, 2021 – MoCo Residents Protest Radical ZTA 19-07

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

Montgomery County Residents Protest Radical Bill ZTA 19-07 That Impose Cell Towers Near Homes — MoCo Council Poised for Straw Vote

Who: Residents, Community Groups, Advocacy Groups

What: Press Conference on Resident Opposition to “Small” Cell-Tower Zoning Proposal

When: Monday June 28, 2021

Why: Community groups and residents are outraged that the Montgomery County Council may move forward this week with legislation to routinely allow “small” cell towers in residential communities 30 feet from homes with no notice and no hearing. They could be even closer with a special permit. Monday’s Coalition press conference takes place the day before the full Council’s work session on this unpopular proposal, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

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


Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

WUSA9 Report: Verizon permit delayed over ‘alarming’ radio frequency predictions in Takoma Park

Verizon permit delayed over ‘alarming’ radio frequency predictions in Takoma Park
‘Worst-case predictive modeling’ concludes exposure could be 25-times higher than the FCC limit.
Author: Scott Broom | WUSA9
Published: 10:59 PM EST November 7, 2019
Updated: 10:59 PM EST November 7, 2019

Related Links:

Community Vision Takes Stand on Cell Tower Safety at Local Building

ACTION ALERT: The Montgomery County Council will be holding a Public Hearing on Bill ZTA 19-07 on Tuesday, November 19th at 7:30pm at the Montgomery County Council Building


– HB 654 /HB 1020 UPDATES –



The Maryland House Economic Affairs Committee voted on March 11, 2019 to refer HB 654 for “interim study.” Bills referred for interim study will receive no further action before the next session – meaning that HB 654 is effectively dead – at least for now.

MC4T had strongly opposed this Bill and testified along with a broad based coalition of citizens groups from all around Maryland, and also both the Maryland Municipal League (MML) and the Maryland Association of Counties (MaCo).

This committee action follows February 21 hearing held by Chairman Dereck Davis on HB 654 which carries formal title of “Wireless Facilities – Installation and Regulation.” This bill was commonly referred to in this latest legislative session as the “industry bill” reflecting its actual authorship.  (County Executive Marc Elrich appeared at the hearing to testify AGAINST state pre-emption contained within HB 654 and referred to the County’s recent actions on local solutions to wireless regulation.)

Del. Davis introduced HB654 and was the ONLY sponsor.

MC4T will continue to closely monitor developments in Annapolis and keep you updated…

Again, thanks for all your help in reaching out to state legislators to communicate your opposition.


Rick Meyer

Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers

Edited Still from “ALEC Rock” Produced by Mark Fiore (http://www.markfiore.com) and the Center for Media and Democracy (http://www.prwatch.org), which is the creator of ALECexposed (http://www.alecexposed.org), and co-produced by the Alliance for a Better Utah (http://betterutah.org) to help expose ALEC.