The Woodstock Town Board unanimously passed an amendment to the town’s zoning law regulating placement of cell towers and equipment on December 13, limiting the proliferation of so-called small cell sites as new 5G wireless technology is installed across the country.
“It’s an excellent law. It was a collaborative team effort,” said Council member Laura Ricci, who also chairs the Zoning Revision Committee. She thanked anti-5G activists Steve Romine and Nicole Nevin for their efforts in getting the zoning changes passed.
Romine sought out telecom-industry litigator Andrew Campanelli, who consulted with the town and wrote most of the zoning changes. Romine raised $11,000 toward Campanelli’s fees and the town contributed $1500.
The 50 pages of zoning amendments were fine-tuned through the Zoning Revision Committee before being brought before the Town Board for final approval. They add restrictions to the placement of so-called small-cell sites, which are used for the millimeter wave variety of 5G wireless service, which offers very high bandwidth but minimal range. In more urban settings, small-cell sites are placed on street lights, buildings and utility poles.
The Woodstock zoning amendments will require setbacks of 300 feet from any residential structure unless the small cell is co-located on an existing facility. Small cells cannot be within 300 feet of the Byrdcliffe Historic District or the Hamlet Preservation District.
The new regulations will also require providers to certify the combined level of radio-frequency exposure from all carriers on a tower or location will not exceed permissible levels. This became an issue when the Planning Board approved upgrades on the town-owned California Quarry Road cell tower and the applicants could not provide information about other tenants.
Town Board members indicated their intentions to support the changes during a public hearing on the matter in November.