😩 ZTA 22-01 passed.😩

Whoops, PHED Committee, Goofs Again;
 ZTA 19-07 Needs Big Band-Aid

Councilmember Riemer is fully admitting that he and the wireless industry lobbyists, who last year essentially spoon-fed the Montgomery County Council zoning language for ZTA 19-07, made a Titanic-sized mistake. A mistake so big it requires a “Mulligan ZTA” to repair a giant hole.

Mr. Riemer introduced ZTA 2022-01, which is “fix-it” legislation to specifically include utility poles. Turns out that utility poles are separately defined under County wireless zoning code and not subject to ZTA 19-07. To fix the hole requires a ZTA 2022-01 patch job. Which means Mr. Riemer is also effectively conceding that when recommending ZTA 19-07 to the full Council, the PHED Committee that he chairs (including Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Will Jawando), inexplicably managed to omit the essential giveaway that the wireless industry coveted most: unfettered access to more than 30,000 utility poles in Montgomery County!  

Rick Meyer, Executive Director, Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers MC4T.ORG

ZTA 22-01 Flyer and Posters

Fox 5 interviews 

Katherine and Anita and Marc Elrich:

Nicole and March Elrich 

Web page



“Shame on all of you — we hold you accountable,” yelled a woman in the audience after the vote. 


THE SENTINEL writes "Rally Against Cell Towers 30 Feet from Homes At Montgomery County Council Building"

Marc Elrich, County Executive 

Unrevised ZTA 22-01 Text  (on Oct 3rd PHED decided to revise) 😂

Sample letters

Public Meetings on ZTA 22-01 -- Antenna on Existing Structure - Use Standards
Title Video   Transcript

Council Public Hearing on 22-01 on September 13, 2022

Fox 5 -- Residents protest cell towers in Montgomery County October 11, 2022 with Marc Elrich, County Executive

Council voting on October 25, 2022

   O C T  1 8   C O U N C I L   

agenda –– https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/agenda/col/2022/20221018/20221018_AG.pdf

watch Council Session (pm) -– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1KDbSWS7tY

   O C T  1 1   R A L L Y

ZTA 19-07 adopted last July 27th, 2021 is codified by Telecommunications Towers via Section –– not Antenna on Existing Structures (Section See additional details here with a chart comparing the 19–07 enacted v 22–01 proposed zoning. ZTA 22–01 is not a minor change to ZTA 19–07. Rather, it is a major AND technical change in NEW zoning law regarding existing poles.

Dear Montgomery County Council

Dear Councilmembers,

We regret that you were unable to join us outside the Council building Tuesday for a robust, evidence based discussion of ZTA 22-01. Fortunately a local news team was there to cover the event. In case you missed it, here is some footage:



Initially the rationale for 22-01 was a minor technical fix to ZTA 19-07. Then it became clear that it was not minor, and represents a massive departure from the provisions of 19-07, as is clear from the Council’s October 18 briefing memo.

Then the rationale was to prevent new pole proliferation, but DPS confirmed that there has not been a single new pole constructed since 19-07 in a residential right of way.

Then the rationale was to bridge the digital divide, until County staff documented that there are only 75 homes in the entire County that lack broadband access (which are exclusively in rural areas), making clear that 22-01 will not increase broadband affordability for low income residents. If anything, it would worsen racial equity and social justice disparities, as is documented in testimony attached to the October 18 briefing memo.

On Tuesday's newscast, we learned that the latest rationale is to “embrace 5G,” however according to the carriers’ own maps, the County is already blanketed in 5G. In addition, we are not aware of any evidence that shows 5G cannot be deployed with a 60 foot setback from homes. We have heard that lobbyists purportedly produced maps showing a need for 30 foot setbacks, but, surprisingly, no Council staff member can seem to find them. 

22-01 is not a referendum on 5G. It is a zoning question of whether to allow towers with unlimited height and an unlimited number of antennae 30 feet or 60 feet from homes. 

Apparently the lead sponsor knew how bad this ZTA is, and rescheduled the public hearing three times over six months to avoid attention before the primary election. In this week’s committee meeting, he acknowledged how wildly unpopular it is, saying “I’d hate to have the next Council have to go through this.” In other words, after delaying since February, let’s try to rush this through because in a thoughtful, deliberative process that incorporates resident engagement, this ZTA would never pass. 

For the 5 Councilmembers returning next term: adopting 22-01 will not make this issue go away. If anything, it’s more likely to do the opposite: adopting 22-01 will amplify and invigorate efforts during the next term to comprehensively reform wireless zoning and regulation in the County. In addition, every small cell deployment that the County enables in close proximity to homes actually awakens more residents to these ill-conceived zoning changes (which most residents are unaware of until a tower unexpectedly shows up near their house or apartment) and inspires more residents to join and grow our coalition.

Please stand together with residents and help restore Montgomery County as a policy leader. Abandon this ZTA. 

Your neighbors with:Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers
Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

Tech Wise Montgomery County MD

Comprehensive rebuttals against Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01

Table of contents

➖ Letter regarding Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) impact statement Legal analysis of wireless zoning  under the federal Telecommunications Act

➖ Candidate pledge on wireless zoning in Montgomery County, 2022 County Council primary election

➖ Public comment by resident groups in Montgomery County regarding the Council’s reliance on FDA statements

➖ Filing by advocates for the EMS disabled in response to an FCC notice of inquiry

➖ Implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Prevention and Elimination of Digital Discrimination.

➖ Lawsuit filed by Pittsfield, Massachusetts residents after being constructively evicted

➖ Pittsfield Board of Health Emergency Order

➖ No US government agency has ever determined that cell towers are safe near homes4

➖ State of New Hampshire: Final Report of the Commission to Study The Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology

➖ Regulating 5G small cell towers

➖ Small Cell Towers Unneeded and Unwanted Miscellaneous materials

➖ Health impact of 5G – European Parliament

Comprehensive Statements against ZTA

The Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) comment on ZTA 22-01

Our response to Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Report

In its current form, the Statement considers two dimensions of impact: (a) the digital divide, which it says may be improved and (b) health inequities, which may be worsened. But, it says, because the magnitude of the effect on each dimension cannot be quantified, it is difficult to “distinguish” the net impact. If after reading the contents of this letter you determine that 22-01’s ability to improve the digital divide.

     Our response

Their response to Our response
    their response -- pound sand