Dewey planners finetune 5G ordinance, design standards

Revisions recommended to commissioners for public hearing, possible vote Nov. 19
October 29, 2021

Dewey Beach planning and zoning commissioners recommended several changes to the town’s wireless ordinance and design standards at their Oct. 22 meeting.

Ron Evans of wireless consulting group CTC said revisions to the ordinance were made to better manage wireless carrier applications and guarantee compliance.

“This will put the town in a good position to start accepting future applications for small wireless facilities making sure that they are compliant with FCC regulations as well as your ordinance and design standards,” Evans said.

A major revision states that every applicant seeking a wireless facility permit must submit an annual plan to the town that identifies the location of every existing facility and the general location of each proposed facility.

The plan must be updated every year, and the town will reject any application that includes a wireless facility not noted on the annual plan, revisions state, and town officials will also reject applications from vendors that do not have a current annual plan on record with the town.

Planners also outlined the preferred placement of small cell facilities from most to least preferable, as follows: along Route 1, beachfront hotel/motel rooftop collocation, minor modification or collocation on wireless support structure, replacement, and finally, new.     

If wireless carriers are unable to collocate on an existing structure, they must provide other pole location options within 300 feet of the new or replacement pole, and provide justification for why collocation was not possible, revisions state.

Other changes state that wireless facilities are not permitted on pedestrian sidewalks, and all utility lines required to power wireless communications must be buried underground. Towers that negatively impact views from public parks and recreation areas will not be allowed.

As a condition of approval, applicants must also provide an evaluation of proposed wireless equipment being installed to prove its compliance with FCC guidelines for human exposure to radio frequency fields.

Town commissioners will hold a public hearing and possible vote on the proposed revisions at 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, in the Lifesaving Station, 1 Dagsworthy Ave. 

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