ZTA19-07

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

 

Posted by twtpadmin in City of Takoma Park

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#

Posted by twtpadmin in Legislation

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.

***

Posted by twtpadmin in Legislation

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.

 

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

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.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov
@albornoz_gabe

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

Councilmember Evan Glass 240-777-7966
Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov
@EvanMGlass

Tom Hucker (Council President) 240-777-7960
Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
@CmHucker

Councilmember Will Jawando 240-777-7811
Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov
@willjawando

Councilmember Sidney Katz 240-777-7906
Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
@MC_Council_Katz

Councilmember Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968
Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
@nancy_navarro

Councilmember Craig Rice (ZTA 19-07 co-sponsor) 240-777-7955
Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
@RicePolitics

Councilmember Hans Riemer (ZTA 19-07 Lead Sponsor) 240-777-7964
Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
@hansriemer


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich 240-777-2500
marc.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov
@MontCoExec

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert

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!

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

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

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

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

  • 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.

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

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 Council members directly by phone or individual emails.

Use your address to find your district here.

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

 

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinar Information Session: Cell Towers Coming to Residential Neighborhoods in Montgomery County  Rick Meyer Presents on Montgomery County’s Broken Process for the Review and Oversight of Cell Towers and What You Need to Know About the 5G Cell Tower ZTA 19-07

Watch Now! Montgomery County's Broken Process for Review and Oversight of Cell Towers and What You Need to Know About ZTA 19-07 with Rick Meyer of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T.org). Webinar was held and recorded Thursday, May 6, 2021.

 

The Montgomery County Council has proposed a new zoning ordinance named ZTA 19-07 which allows 4G and 5G so-called “small” cell towers to be deployed just 30 feet from your home.  The street lights and utility poles in front of your home will be able to be replaced with 5G/4G cell towers without any notice sent to you, nor public hearing required so long as the pole is at least 30 feet from your home.

Rick Meyer, President, Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers

Montgomery County has a history of lax reviews. Rick Meyer of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T) has worked for years with a team of residents evaluating the County’s oversight process for cell tower permitting. They found dozens of applications with errors and numerous examples of towers built too tall, too close to homes, with too many antennas in violation of their permit.  Some “small” cells were even built at the wrong address! Watch Rick Meyer present to the council in this video.

More Info
Want to stop cell towers from coming to your front door? Go to the letter writing campaign/petition to stop the ZTA.
Last month, Theodora Scarato presented an overview of the new ZTA along with clips from the Council meetings. Watch Scarato’s webinar video replay HERE.

We hope you will join us on Thursday May 6 at 7:30 PM. Be sure to REGISTER.

Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert, webinar

Register Now for Our Expert Webinar Tues. March 30, 7PM “Montgomery County 5G Small Cell Information Session”

Register for Our Expert Webinar “Montgomery County 5G Small Cell Information Session”

UPDATE: Watch the Video Recording of the Webinar on YouTube.

5G WebinarWhat are the Health and Environmental Effects of 5G Deployment in Montgomery County Maryland and How Will the County Council Proposed Zoning Affect Our Neighborhoods?
  • Speaker: Theodora Scarato, Director of the Environmental Health Trust
  • Date: Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021
  • Time: 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1ul-d_c0R3-E4pYpR-yafw

What You Need to Know About Montgomery County, 5G and the New Zoning ZTA 19-07

The Montgomery County Council has proposed a new zoning ordinance named ZTA 19-07 which allows 4G and 5G so called “small” cell towers to be deployed just 30 feet from your home.  The street lights and utility poles in front of your home will be able to be replaced with 5G cell towers without any notice sent to you, nor public hearing required so long as the pole is at least 30 feet from your home.
A Montgomery County Maryland group MoCoSafeG  has invited Theodora Scarato to speak about the health and environmental issues related to 5G and 4G antenna densification.
Research shows that unfettered 5G deployment would greatly increase the greenhouse gas emissions which are driving the climate crisis. Solutions exist to provide internet connections without forcing these cell towers into neighborhoods. Fiber networks are ten times more energy efficient, have no health risks, are cheaper and offer greater privacy protection.
Published research reviews warn that cell tower radiation can harm bees, birds, treesplants and wildlife. There are further substantial impacts to the tree canopy and wildlife from the digging and tree trimming necessary to deploy all of these antennas.
The cellular antennas on these poles will transmit radio frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation 24/7 which has never been safety tested on people for long term exposure. Many doctors and scientists recommend a halt to 5G until safety research is performed due to the substantial body of research that already exists indicating current 3G and 4G technology is harmful at legal levels.  This issue is the center of a lawsuit in federal court launched by Environmental Health Trust-  now awaiting a court verdict.
Learn about the latest proposed cell tower zoning for Montgomery County and why doctors recommend caution.  Get your questions answered in this informative session on March 30th,  Monday at 7:00pm with expert Theodora Scarato MSW, Executive Director of the scientific think tank Environmental Health Trust.
Date: March 30th, Tuesday at 7:00pm
Posted by twtpadmin in Action Alert