The Woodstock Town Board unanimously passed an amendment to the city’s zoning law on Dec. 13, which regulates cell tower and equipment placement and limits the proliferation of so-called small cell sites as new 5G wireless technology rolls out across the country.
“It is an excellent law. It was a collaborative team effort,” said Councilor Laura Ricci, who also chairs the Zoning Review Committee. She thanked anti-5G activists Steve Romine and Nicole Nevin for their efforts in getting the zoning changes through.
Romine reached out to telecoms industry attorney Andrew Campanelli, who consulted with the city and wrote most of the zoning changes. Romine raised $11,000 for Campanelli’s dues and the city contributed $1,500.
The 50 pages of zoning changes were fine-tuned by the zoning revision committee before being submitted to City Council for final approval. They add restrictions on the placement of so-called small-cell sites used for millimeter-wave diversity of 5G wireless service, which offers very high bandwidth but minimal range. In more urban settings, small-cell sites are placed on streetlights, buildings, and utility poles.
The Woodstock zoning changes require setbacks of 300 feet from each dwelling structure unless the small cell is in an existing facility. Small cells must not be within 300 feet of the Byrdcliffe Historic District or the Hamlet Preservation District.
The new regulations also require providers to certify that the combined level of radio frequency exposure from all carriers at a tower or site does not exceed allowable levels. This became a problem when the planning board approved upgrades to the city’s California Quarry Road cell phone tower and applicants were unable to provide information on other tenants.
City council members announced their intention to support the changes during a public hearing on the issue in November.