How to find out if a telecom company wants to install a 5G cell tower near your home
Coast to coast, companies are building 5G cell towers in residential neighborhoods. Most people are not aware of the aggressive deployment process – but you don’t have to be another blindsided resident.
Virtually every municipality in the United States has some procedure in place for receiving, reviewing, and granting or denying cell tower/wireless antenna installation proposals submitted by wireless telecommunications companies (i.e. Verizon, Crown Castle, T-Mobile, Dish Network, AT&T, etc.). The key to delaying or stopping a proposed 5G cell tower/wireless antenna from being installed near your home is to stay on top of the cell tower/wireless antenna permitting process governed by your municipality.
One way to do this is to obtain applications for pending cell tower/wireless antenna installations near your home. Applications submitted by telecommunications companies are considered public documents, and as such, you are entitled to view them as a member of the public. By obtaining applications you can map out where telecommunications companies are planning to install their facilities, what kinds of facilities are being planned for your area, and other important information vital to mounting a possible challenge.
Once you obtain the sought-after public documents (applications or permits for cell towers/wireless antennas) from your local government, be sure to cross-reference the content of the documents with your local municipality’s wireless telecommunications laws. If there is a discrepancy between the documents you’ve received, or if information in the application materials that’s supposed to be there according to your local laws, you may have legitimate grounds to challenge the application, and possibly, stop the project from being approved altogether.
Before we get too deep into the weeds, download our new, free flyer here which will provide you with a comprehensive overview about how to find out if a 5G cell tower/wireless antenna is slated to be installed near your home.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: If a cell tower/wireless antenna has already been installed near you, request to review the permit for that installation from your local government (use the same public information request procedure outlined in the flyer). We’ve received many reports from folks around the country that telecommunications companies are putting up facilities that have not been permitted.
STEP 1: Contact your local government. You may need to file a “public information request.”
Contact your local government. Most governments have clerks who can provide you with information about how to access certain public records, like wireless facility applications and permits. Your goal is to obtain a list of approved and/or pending wireless antenna sites within a one-mile radius of your home. You may be required to fill out and submit a “public information request” form. If that’s the case, inquire about where to find the proper form, how to fill it out, and where to send your request.
STEP 2: Identify the specific documents you are seeking.
Write a specific, detailed public information request to reduce the amount of time it takes for your local government to respond to you. State law may dictate how requests must be submitted, and the timeframe within which your locality must produce public records. A good information request may read, “I request to review the permits for all approved commercial wireless telecommunications infrastructure installations. and all applications for pending commercial wireless telecommunications infrastructure installations, within a one-mile radius of [insert your desired address].”
STEP 3: Demand transparency of cell siting procedures in your municipality.
You deserve to know where wireless facilities are located and newly proposed in your community. Residents should be readily informed about how they can participate in the decision-making process regarding the siting and future deployment of wireless facilities. Several U.S. municipalities already publicly post cell tower sites, new applications and RFR exposure reports. Some municipalities have also adopted wireless telecommunications ordinances (laws) that include installation setbacks, prohibiting wireless facilities within a specified radius from homes and schools.
5G Cell Towers and Municipal Installation Restrictions
Many communities have passed strong ordinances that restrict cell towers and 5G “small cell” antennas from being installed near homes, schools, and places of worship. (Click on link to navigate to each municipality’s respective municipal ordinance.)
- Shelburne, Massachusetts: 3,000 feet from schools and 1,500 feet from homes.
- Copake, New York: 1,500 feet from homes, schools, churches and public buildings.
- Sallisaw, Oklahoma: 1,500 feet from homes.
- Calabasas, California: No “Tier 2” telecommunications facilities within 1,000 feet of homes and schools.
- Stockbridge, Massachusetts: 1,000 feet for schools, playgrounds and athletic fields. 600 feet for residential.
- Walnut City, California: 1,500 feet setbacks for schools, parks and residential zones.
- Bedford, New Hampshire: 750 feet from nearest residentially-zoned property.
- Encinitas, California: Restricted site locations include residential zones, within Ecological zones, or very high fire hazard severity zones, 500 feet from residential dwelling units, daycares or schools.
- Scarsdale, New York – 500 feet from homes, schools, parks, and houses of worship.
- Randolph, Massachusetts: 500 feet for homes.
- Petaluma, California: 500 feet for homes.
- Suisun City, California: 500 feet for homes.
- Ithaca, New York: 250 feet or more from any residence, school, or day-care facility.
- All wireless telecommunications facilities, like 4G and 5G “small cell” antennas and cell towers, emit radio frequency radiation (“RFR”) 24/7.
- U.S. human exposure limits for RFR have not been updated in over 26 years.
- Scientific research links RFR exposure to cancer, brain development problems, sperm damage in humans and adverse impacts on trees, pollinators, and wildlife.
- Cell towers and wireless antennas are eyesores and create fire and safety hazards. Studies find cell installations near home can reduce property values by up to 20%.
Stay in the loop!