Thrive Montgomery 2050 accelerates deployment of 5G –– Tell the Council to Hit Pause –– and Add Equity

We are sharing this August 16th article and Action Alert by Montgomery Countryside Alliance (

Thrive 2050: What it Says, What it Will Do, and Why We Have to Hit Pause

OF NOTE related to the proliferation of close-proximity small cells from that article, please find this linked PDF: Thrive’s Sweeping Changes (PDF)

“Thrive’s Proposed Policies Would Bring Sweeping Changes to Montgomery County

Thrive’s proposed policies and those in its companion documents including Attainable Housing Strategies, would bring sweeping changes to Montgomery County to the detriment of a healthy environment and affordable housing for all.

Here’s a partial list of Thrive’s sweeping changes. Thrive would:

“…Accelerate deployment of high-frequency networks in every neighborhoodexposing residents to harmful levels of 5G radiofrequency radiation.
Source: PHED draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050, October 2021, pages 50 – 51.  (Thrive 2050 Draft PDF: PHED-CommitteeDraftThrive2050.pdf)”

Also from the PHED draft (PHED-CommitteeDraftThrive2050.pdf):

    • p48 — . . . the importance of virtual connections, including the deployment of high-speed wireless networks and fiber optic cable, continues to grow.
    • p50 — Support teleworking by accelerating deployment of information and communications technology and making working from home easier by facilitating Complete Communities. (Ec, Env)
    • p51 — Another essential building block of economic competitiveness is information and communications technology and telecommunications networks. Montgomery County should continue to prioritize advancing new technologies and making deployment of high-speed wireless networks and fiber optic cable – or other new communication systems – an important part of infrastructure planning.

Besides accelerating the deployment of high-frequency networks in every neighborhood, Thrive, if enacted, would undermine our existing Smart-Growth General Plan—Thwarting our ability to repair racial and social Injustice and equity.

Thrive Fails:

→ to stop sprawl
→ to advance Racial Equity and Social Justice in land use and transportation
→ to provide a path to success in meeting the need for affordable housing
→ to protect renters from rent increases and displacement
→ to protect our urban trees and forests
→ to protect our watersheds and clean drinking water supplies from pollution
→ to protect historic sites and structures
→ to protect our Agricultural Reserve so we can grow its capacity for food production

Read the entire MC Alliance article: Thrive 2050: What it Says, What it Will Do, and Why We Have to Hit Pause

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.


Big Turnout in Opposition to ZTA 19-07 Public Hearing – November 19, 2019