Agreement reached in 5G pole lawsuit in Dewey Beach

Settlement proposes moving poles from dunes; relocation depends on town approval, state funding
December 2, 2021

Five 5G poles on the dunes in Dewey Beach will be moved, according to a settlement reached by Verizon and Dewey residents Alex Pires, Diane Cooley and John Snow, who filed a class-action lawsuit against the telecom in June.

Pires said Dec. 2 that proposed relocations are subject to town approval.

“We, as three residents, did as much as we could with this lawsuit against a $600 billion company,” Pires said. “The town of Dewey Beach can take it from here and probably do even better. The original goal, to get the poles off the beach, has been reached.”

The 10-page settlement dated Nov. 30 proposes that poles on Clayton, Collins, Rodney, St. Louis and Cullen streets be moved from 15 to 285 feet away from the dunes, and that wireless facilities be colocated on existing Delmarva Power poles or placed on new poles.

Pires said he knew some people would be disappointed that poles on their street dunes could not be moved as far, but said it was the best he could do in negotiating with the telecommunications giant.

Relocation depends on Verizon receiving reimbursement for expenses through Delaware’s 2022 Bond and Capital Improvements Act, and on approvals from the Town of Dewey Beach and Delmarva Power, the agreement states. Poles will be moved within 90 days of these approvals, the settlement states.

In September, Dewey Beach voted to enter a funding agreement with the state which would provide $375,000 to the town for relocating 5G poles, dependent on an agreement with the town and wireless carriers.

Verizon will use good faith-efforts to obtain alternate approved locations on the east side of Route 1 if the proposed locations are not approved, the settlement states.

A possible vote set for Dec. 2 for town commissioners to approve a wireless facilities ordinance and design standards occurred after the Cape Gazette’s Dec. 3 press deadline. If approved, relocations would be subject to the ordinance, Town Manager Bill Zolper said.

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