Montgomery County approves unpopular cell tower zoning ordinance

Montgomery County Council has approved an unpopular zoning ordinance that will allow cell towers to be built closer to homes.

The amendment, ZTA 22-01, allows cell tower antennas on existing utility poles 30 feet from homes down from 60 feet. It also allows antennas and towers to be installed on taller, wider utility poles, doubling the number of eligible poles to 65,000. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Montgomery County to discuss unpopular cell tower zoning ordinance on Tuesday

The council says the amendment will expand 5G wireless service in the county and provide better service to residents.

However, those against the ordinance have three main concerns with more cell towers being built: proximity to homes, property value going down and health dangers. 

READ MORE: Residents protest cell towers in Montgomery County

"These zoning changes continue the Council’s work over more than six years to ensure a smooth, efficient, and thoughtful deployment of the infrastructure required to support advancements in wireless technology," said Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee Chair Riemer. "While a small, but vocal group of critics has opposed these measures and sought delay at every turn, I ask: if we don’t embrace these changes, how are we supposed to compete for job growth and quality of life with our regional counterparts who have already moved forward on common sense wireless zoning reforms? Montgomery County should embrace the future. Companies and our residents do not want to be in a technology backwater. We all benefit from wireless connectivity, and these zoning reforms will ensure continued progress."

The council has already passed ZTA 1907, which allows telecom towers 30 feet from homes through the streamlined limited use process.