Verizon 5G pole applications in Dewey still incomplete

Telecom company claims details are proprietary; mayor states delay is more ‘egg on our face’
December 6, 2022

Months after Dewey Beach’s wireless consultant last updated commissioners on the status of Verizon’s agreement to move its 5G poles from the dunes, little has changed.

Consultant James Crane of CTC told commissioners at the Nov. 18 meeting that three applications Verizon submitted in May 2022 to move the poles are still incomplete despite several meetings and requests for information from the telecom company.

The applications involve moving poles on the public right of way on Rodney, Clayton and Cullen streets that Verizon had installed in September 2020.

Crane said Verizon resubmitted applications with some corrected information in August and October. 

Revised forms in October included narratives about why it can’t move poles to the town’s preferred locations as stated in the ordinance, Crane said, but did not include any scientific data or technical justification validating its narrative. 

The incomplete applications did not include FCC NEPA/NHPA environmental assessments as previously requested and as required by town ordinance, Crane said.

Crane said he met with Verizon representatives in November, and they said they have the technical justification, but that the information is proprietary.

“Again, we repeated that we needed some realistic reason for the site choices,” Crane said. “Right now, they're absent any supporting evidence such as a calculation, an equation or some sort of technical representation of the coverage issue.”

Verizon also asked the town to reconsider its requirement to submit FCC NEPA/NHPA documents, which is a town ordinance requirement, Crane said. 

Crane said he advised Verizon the town was firm on the requirement, which was included in the ordinance to ensure the application is also consistent with requirements of the assessments and findings.

Mayor Bill Stevens said the poles need to be moved and the process for moving the poles has been ongoing for at least 18 months.

“If we get into another summer with them out there, it's just more egg on our face in terms of us having the ability to move forward … is there a reason why we can’t force them down right now?” Stevens said.

Town Counsel Fred Townsend said it would be ideal to work out a coordinated effort to relocate the poles. Proprietary information is excluded from public records and not releasable through the Freedom of Information Act, he said.

“They probably know that, but it might be worth repeating that they can stamp information like that in such a way that we either have to destroy it after it's met its useful life or, certainly, we would be prohibited from disclosing it,” Townsend said.

When Stevens asked if Verizon could meet with the town to show them the proprietary information, Townsend replied in the affirmative, and said the town would be prohibited from disclosing it.

“Let’s move this on, let’s see what we can do because they’re not in any hurry, obviously,” Stevens said.

To review the town’s communications with Verizon, go to


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