Verizon agrees to halt 5G pole installation in Dewey Beach

Temporary restraining order in effect until final ruling on complaint or mutual agreement
July 1, 2021

Verizon’s installation of 5G utility poles in Dewey Beach has been halted due to a temporary restraining order issued by the Court of Chancery July 1.

The order issued by Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III in response to a class-action lawsuit filed June 21 by Dewey Beach residents Alex Pires, Diane Cooley and John Snow stated that Verizon and the plaintiffs agreed on conditions of the proposed restraining order to avoid the need for court intervention.

“We are pleased that Verizon has agreed not to install any additional poles on our near our beautiful beach, and we are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement on the removal of the existing five poles,” Pires said. “However, until we have a date certain for removal of the existing poles, our protest and lawsuit will continue.”

Per the order, Verizon agreed to not erect any additional small wireless support structures or utility poles in state right of way or on the beach and dunes in Dewey until the court issues a final ruling on the plaintiff’s request for permanent injunctive relief, or until an order approves a mutual agreement between Verizon and plaintiffs to allow installation of additional poles.

Along with the request for the temporary restraining order against Verizon, the lawsuit filed by Pires, Cooley and Snow sought to remove five 5G poles already installed on the beach dunes. 

Three poles were installed without permits being obtained from Dewey Beach, and two other installations did not follow proper permitting requirements, according to the lawsuit, which also states Verizon could install up to eight more cell towers on the sand dunes.

A separate grassroots group, Save Dewey Beach, has planned a protest calling for relocation of the poles away from the beaches at 9:30 to 11 a.m., Monday, July 5 at the beach end of Rodney Avenue. Save Dewey Beach Chair Dan Dionisio said he was encouraged by the steps Verizon is taking to resolve the issue, but its private and public comments continue to be too vague and incomplete.

“Our efforts will continue until we get a date certain for when the poles will be removed, and what the new poles will will look like,” said Dionisio. “There is a consensus in town that until that happens, there is no need to change what we are doing.”

Verizon spokesperson Chris Serico could not be reached for comment.

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