At this rate, if Rehoboth Beach commissioners continue to delay approval of Verizon’s proposed cellphone antennas on the Boardwalk, the communication company may not need any new antennas along the beachfront at all.
That’s not really the case, but during a commissioner workshop July 2, Bonnie Metz, Verizon director of state government affairs, said the number of proposed antennas along the Boardwalk is now 12. Less than two years ago, the company approached the city about installing 18 antennas along the Boardwalk.
Metz was on hand at the request of city officials to participate in a discussion about placing the proposed antennas on the west side of the Boardwalk, instead of the east side.
Mayor Stan Mills brought forward the change of location for Boardwalk antennas. He said he liked the idea because, in most cases, the poles wouldn’t be in the line of sight of people walking down the Boardwalk. Also, he said, it would mean the Boardwalk’s light poles won’t be different styles for some period of time as communication companies change the lights from one style to the other.
Commissioners Pat Coluzzi and Richard Byrne said they liked the idea of the antennas being on the west side.
If allowed, Verizon wouldn’t be the first company with an antenna on the west side of the Boardwalk. Last year, AT&T installed an antenna at the end of Stockley Street, feet from the Boardwalk.
Verizon is proposing fewer antennas, but there’s a catch – the majority of them will likely be more than twice as tall, 38 feet, because they would be installed on Delmarva Power utility poles or on new utility poles when Delmarva Power’s equipment doesn’t allow for colocation. The antennas proposed for the east side of the Boardwalk would have been roughly 15 feet tall and replaced the existing lights with new ones that were nearly identical.
Commissioner Jay Lagree said he had initially been excited about the possibility of the antennas on the west side of the Boardwalk, but changed his mind when he saw the plans included antennas on top of the 35-foot-tall poles.
It’s totally different from what he thought, and it’s disturbing the city wouldn’t be getting decorative poles, said Lagree.
Verizon had initially wanted to install the Boardwalk antennas before the beginning of this summer season, but the city didn’t approve the design of the decorative lights that would replace the current lights because all the electronics wouldn’t be housed within the new lights. Metz said the company would like to have the antennas installed by next summer season.
Proposed locations for Verizon’s 12 Boardwalk antennas
Beginning at the south end of the Boardwalk, these are the updated locations for Verizon’s new cellphone installations:
Prospect Street – existing utility pole location
St. Lawrence Street – new pole, east of last existing utility pole
Norfolk Street – new pole, east of last existing utility pole
New Castle Street – new pole, north side of street
Hickman Street – existing pole location
Brooklyn Avenue – new pole, east of last existing utility pole
Wilmington Avenue – existing pole location
Baltimore Avenue, Boardwalk – east side of Boardwalk, on top of existing volleyball light
Maryland Avenue – new pole, east of last existing utility pole
Olive Avenue – new pole, near Obie’s by the Sea
Virginia Avenue – new pole, on south side of street
Surfside Place – existing pole location