POTOMAC, Md. - The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow more cellphone antennas to be allowed in the area.
The resolution that passed will move the county away from the large towers of the past and allow carriers to install more antennas on top of existing utility poles, light poles and smaller buildings.
The zoning change is expected to impact more urban and mixed-use neighborhoods in Montgomery County. While passing the resolution, the council also strengthened some current regulations in residential zones.
“We’re trying to assert our local influence to ensure that this deployment is respectable, that it is as harmonious as it can be in our neighborhoods while not trying to block this and say, ‘no, no, not here, the future of mobile can’t happen here,’ that’s not something we’re able to say,” Montgomery County Council President Hans Riemer told FOX 5.
Concerned residents said they were worried about the new antenna applications, stating the fee for the applications hasn’t increased in more than a decade and that the county loses money on the applications. The resident said they didn’t want to be the ones footing the bill for large telecommunications companies.
“We expect that the floodgates are going to open now,” resident Sue Present said. “As soon as this ZTA takes effect we expect that there are going to be many applications coming through the door.”
Residents like Present said they want to ensure the review process is done fairly and pushed for more regulations. Concerned residents also said there is little-to-no enforcement if the antennas are installed improperly or if they don’t meet regulations.