Cell Tower Controversy Update

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On December 13, approximately 150 people attended a town hall meeting hosted by NPCA at the North Potomac Recreation Center to learn more about the impending cell tower proposals for our neighborhoods. Guest speakers Andy Spivak and Drew Morris, two leaders of the newly formed Montgomery County Coalition to Control Cell Towers (MC4T), outlined the history of the impending cell towers in our area, what has been done thus far, and what action items the coalition is currently taking.

As previously reported, the County Council thankfully withdrew the Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 16-05) that would have allowed the installation of new cell towers without any public input, and Crown Castle has also temporarily withdrawn its over 120 tower applications to give the community time to weigh in. However, the county remains underprepared for and unprotected against the plans of the telecommunications and tower installation companies. We need additional local ordinances and legislation to control where cell towers are placed and what they look like in order to better protect us. MC4T leaders also recommended significant changes to our county’s cell tower approval process. Without these changes, the carriers can easily force their agendas upon us. It critical that we convince the County Council to reform its new tower application process to place a greater burden of proof on the carriers as to why and how many new towers are necessary and to carefully consider and justify their placement.

All interested residents of Montgomery County are invited to join and support the coalition. (You may contact the NPCA at NPCAorg@gmail.com or email the MC4T directly at controlcelltowers@gmail.com.) On several occasions, the MC4T, co-founded by the NPCA, has met with members of the County Council regarding all of the aforementioned issues. The MC4T has also formally requested that the County Council hire a highly qualified technical consultant to (1) help it draft an alternative local ordinance that would provide our neighborhoods stronger protection, (2) examine the hundreds of new cell tower applications that will eventually be filed with the county, and (3) advise on how best to proceed in general. Working together, we all stand a much better chance at preserving the beauty of our neighborhoods and homes. The MC4T shall remain vigilant on this matter, plans to hold more town hall meetings on the subject, and will keep you posted as new developments occur.