Nevada City looks to regulate telecom facilities | TheUnion.com

Nevada City looks to regulate telecom facilities

After fending off a proposal by Verizon Wireless to install rooftop wireless, Nevada City's City Council is looking to create a broad-based telecommunications ordinance to address future issues.

Verizon recently withdrew its use permit application for a screened rooftop wireless facility at 109 North Pine St. But the telecommunications company indicated it wants to install "small cell facilities" on existing power or telephone poles in downtown Nevada City.

Council member Reinette Senum has said local jurisdictions have little control over these microwave radiation antennas. So in response, she asked the council to consider a six-month moratorium while staff crafts an ordinance to regulate future proposals involving the installation of telecommunications infrastructure.

Several audience members at Wednesday's council meeting spoke in support of a restrictive ordinance.

"The draw of Nevada City is historic, not technological," said Charlie Price, adding that a lack of cell service is not the end of the world and urging that Nevada City residents not become "guinea pigs" for the telecommunications industry.

Senum told her fellow council members such an ordinance would protect the city.

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"We need to make sure we represent our constituents," she said.

But most of Senum's colleagues, while in favor of the ordinance, were unsure of the wisdom of a moratorium and unclear as to how it would work.

"We have very little power; we have very little control," Senum said. "Why shouldn't we protect ourselves while we are crafting the ordinance?"

City staff was asked to conduct some research into potential language for a moratorium, with the issue to come back to the council at a later date.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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