When 5G infrastructure is installed in city right of ways, it'll have to look nice.
The City Council approved the proactive measure of updating its zoning regulations to ensure the city streets aren't lined with unsightly technology. Tower and wireless companies are rolling out 5G technology throughout the nation but that will require a significant number of new towers and antennas.
The decision, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, clears the way for Verizon, operating as Pittsfield Cellular Telephone Co., to install a 140-foot monopole at the former North Adams Country Club.
The town is expected to file an agreement with the telecommunications company by Friday, Oct. 5. Pittsfield Cellular Telephone Co., operating as Verizon Wireless, filed a lawsuit in federal court a month after the Planning Board denied its application for a permit last year.
After more than two hours of testimony on Thursday, the ZBA voted 5-0 to ask Cooper to discuss his disagreement with Verizon's radio frequency engineer about how many "small cell" nodes could be mounted on utility poles to eliminate a 2.8-mile coverage gap in the area.
And that one unambiguous objection to the idea was all it took to send Verizon Wireless back to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which this winter suggested that the applicant explore the notion of siting their monopole tower on town-owned land.
Attorney Anthony Lepore is sounding the alarm on legislation allowing 5G technology to roll out.
Lepore said states have been passing legislation that effectively removes a local municipality's say in wireless infrastructure placed in a right of way.