Woodstock officials are poised to adopt new rules governing cellular equipment placement, incorporating Fishkill’s comprehensive regulations. But Supervisor Bill McKenna warns 5G opponents it will not necessarily stop the new wireless technology from coming to Woodstock.
“I’ve had some conversations with folks who are against 5G. And they seem to be of the opinion that Andrew Campanelli is going to stop 5G from ever coming to Woodstock,” McKenna said at the December 14 Town Board meeting. The board may take up the matter at its December 21 meeting.
The town retained Campanelli, a telecom-industry litigator, to help it draft new legislation.
“Andrew has been very clear with me. He was clear with myself and (Councilwoman) Laura (Ricci) the other day when we spoke about it, and he said we cannot stop 5G from coming to Woodstock, that the best hope in adopting this law is to regulate it so that…we can keep our citizens as safe as possible, to keep the apparatus as far from houses as is legally possible,” McKenna said. “So I just don’t want people to get all excited thinking 5G is never going to come. It may slow it down. You know, we’re a small market, so it might keep the companies from coming right away. But eventually, we’re going to have to be dealing with it.”
The town of Fishkill regulations the Woodstock board appears ready to adopt limit where cellular equipment can be placed and require co-location on existing buildings and towers whenever possible. New towers or equipment are subject to setback and other requirements. Applicants must provide information establishing the need for the equipment, signal coverage plots showing anticipated coverage and evidence the area is currently deficient. The Fishkill regulations require radio-frequency emissions testing every six months.
“I think we can replace our section of the zoning law that deals with cell towers. We can replace it with this, and this covers everything. It covers the small cells. It covers the large towers, it covers everything in between,” McKenna said.
The Woodstock Planning Board is considering an application from AT&T to remove four of its six antennas on the town-owned tower on California Quarry Road and replace two antennas. Four antennas will be in service and some will be 5G-capable. The Planning Board likely cannot deny the application because the equipment maintains the same footprint on the tower. It voted to request permission from the town, which owns the tower.
The Planning Board denied a T-Mobile application this summer to replace equipment with some that is 5G-capable, but that decision was based on visual impact, since the equipment and a supporting array was significantly larger than existing infrastructure.
AT&T proposes low-frequency 5G service, not the millimeter-wave signal that opponents are fighting vigorously.
The new 5G technology touts higher data bandwidth and more call capacity. Millimeter-wave provides the highest bandwidth but to date, it has only been deployed in select parts of major cities because the range is very limited. So-called small-cell sites are needed several hundred feet apart to maintain the signal.