Cell antennas for Rehoboth Boardwalk are close, but not quite ready

City officials to resume discussion on wireless ordinance changes Dec. 7
December 4, 2020

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Verizon’s 18 new wireless facilities slated for the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk are similar in design to the light poles they’ll be replacing in practically every way except one – they all include a ring of antennas at the base of the light.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said Verizon’s most recently proposed poles are a quarter of an inch wider at the top and half an inch narrower at the base than the current light poles. The city has worked extensively with Verizon to get the new poles to be as close as possible to the design of the original poles, he said in an email Dec. 2.

“However, personally,” said Mills, “I would have liked for the antennae to be less visible – as was done for a competitor’s antenna – in order to maintain the same uncluttered feel of the balance of light poles.”

Verizon’s proposed Boardwalk antennas were announced during a commissioner meeting in August. Plans for the cellphone antennas were included as part of an application to Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Watershed Stewardship requesting to place the antennas seaward of the state’s building line – from north to south, the entire width of the Boardwalk is seaward of that line. A public notice on the application was published Oct. 25; DNREC issued its permit a few weeks later.

Similar to other wireless facilities in Rehoboth, each antenna will have an electric meter. However, said Mills, the meters will be clustered in meter banks of four or five on the west side of the Boardwalk. Power will run underneath the Boardwalk through conduits to the new antennas, he said.

Mills said there will be locations where several boards may need to be removed to run the conduit pipe, but he does not foresee having to close the Boardwalk for this work to be done.

Mills said Verizon still has some items to submit to the city for approval, but their intent is to have the antennas operational before summer 2021.

The Boardwalk antennas aren’t Verizon’s only pending applications in Rehoboth Beach. Mills said antennas on Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia Street, Christian Street, Wilmington Avenue and King Charles Avenue have been given conditional approval. There are also five antennas in the Rehoboth Avenue median in the final stages of review, he said.

Verizon could not be reached for comment.

More discussion on changes to wireless facilities ordinance

City commissioners are set to resume discussing changes to the city’s wireless facilities ordinance during a workshop Monday, Dec. 7, continuing a discussion from the commissioners’ November workshop. Commissioners considered a handful of proposed changes stemming from a months-long discussion spurred by the city’s environment committee.

Those recommendations included:

  • Consider requiring recertification every four years that the wireless communication facility complies with federal regulations
  • Consider requiring notice to property owners abutting the location where an application has been submitted and posting a sign at a proposed site within five days of applying
  • Consider posting all applications to the city website with an opportunity for the public to provide written comments
  • Consider requiring drawings to scale showing all structures, residential dwellings and essential utilities in the fall line of the proposed wireless facility
  • Consider requiring the applicant to submit all antennas currently identified for deployment in the city.

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