Nevada City telecom ordinance to become effective within weeks |

Nevada City telecom ordinance to become effective within weeks

A May protest against 5G technology in Nevada County. Nevada City last week passed a telecom ordinance that becomes effective in weeks.
Elias Funez/

A new telecom ordinance for Nevada City, initially reported to be headed to a third reading, is instead weeks away from becoming effective.

Mayor Reinette Senum at the Sept. 26 council meeting said she wanted a workshop before the nonexistent third reading happened, which would give people more time to provide input.

“And this is a second reading, it’s not a third reading, so what I would suggest is that within this period in two weeks from the third reading that we have a workshop and come back more educated and more informed and we make our recommendations and try to get those put into the ordinance as soon as possible,” Senum said during the meeting.

No date for the public workshop has been set.

According to Senum, she misspoke and knew there would be no third reading, adding that if changes were made the ordinance would have to return for a “second second reading, or a third second reading.”

City Attorney Hal DeGraw did mention minutes earlier that any changes made would force the ordinance back to a first reading before becoming official 30 days following the approval of the second reading.

No changes were made and the ordinance will become effective this month.

City Manager Catrina Olson brought the mistake to The Union’s attention, saying it should have been corrected at the time but was not due to the contentious nature of the nearly four-hour meeting.

Olson also said the ordinance should not be referred to as a “5G ordinance” because it affects all wireless telecom facilities, not just 5G facilities. The focus from community members opposing the ordinance has been on the potential implementation of 5G.

According to Councilwoman Valerie Moberg, neither she nor any other council members thought there would be a third reading.

“I never heard of a third reading, so I wouldn’t have thought that,” Moberg said. “She’s been the mayor before so she knows there’s no third reading. It was getting confusing because if we had made any changes that night, it would have to go back to a first reading.”

Council members Duane Strawser, Erin Minett and David Parker couldn’t be reached for comment.

According to DeGraw, the first and second reading process gives the public the chance to know what will go in the ordinance upon second reading and adoption. Any changes between the readings would restart the process, forcing another first reading, and give the public enough notice to weigh in before the ordinance is adopted.

“The reason (the mistake) was a big deal was because the report kind of left it up in the air,” DeGraw said. “No matter how much controversy went on, they ultimately adopted it.”

DeGraw said he hadn’t heard Senum’s error but if he did, he would have corrected it.

Contact Staff Writer John Orona at or 530-477-4229.

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