After hearing from speakers citing health concerns over 5G wireless technology at their recent meeting, city council voted 6-1 to postpone approval of design and placement standards for the next generation wireless facilities until their next scheduled meeting on July 22.
Council member Alan Jenkins voted against. City Attorney Bob Coler said that, according to FCC regulations, the city cannot stop the implementation and installation of 5G wireless facilities and can only regulate placement and aesthetics. Coler warned that without established standards, telecommunications companies would be free to install such wireless facilities on any public infrastructure they choose without the city’s input.
Telecommunications companies cite the potential for 5G’s increased capacity and speed to be used for everything from improved home and mobile internet connectivity to the future of automated vehicles and advanced virtual reality therapies that could revolutionize healthcare. Health concerns cited by opponents at the recent meeting reference the higher frequencies needed to achieve that increased capacity and speed. Those non-ionizing frequencies are above commonly used radio wave frequencies—operating in the same range as airport scanners and radar installations used by the military—and sit below the infrared and visible light spectrum, far below the dangerous ionizing ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma ray radiation spectrum.
Also at the meeting, council voted 7-0 to approve transferring vacant lots on Lawrence Johnson Sr Lane in the Forest Park Neighborhood to the ReGenesis Community Development Corporation for the construction of housing for homeownership. The city will provide closing cost assistance to the affordable buyers at 80% of Area Median Income or less as part of the city’s Homeownership Program. The purpose of this development is to convert useable city property into long term tax-producing properties and to meet the City’s housing objectives.
Council also heard from City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Moultrie about three new neighborhood parks facilities to be constructed in the coming months. Utilizing various partnerships, the city plans to construct playgrounds in Pineview Hills, Beaumont Village, and at Denny’s Plaza in downtown.
The mayor also established an interview committee to review applications for City Boards and Commissions at the recent meeting after City Clerk Connie McIntyre noted receiving more applications for the seats than ever during her tenure. Council member Erica Brown will chair the committee, with council members Jamie Fulmer and Jerome Rice also serving. Council approved Michael Willcox to the Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals, Michael Epps and Jared Wilson to the Planning Commission, and Francis Mukiibi and Claire Ginther to the Public Safety Committee as those boards had an equal number of applicants and available seats.
For more on the recent city council meeting, see the full video below along with a roundup of our live tweets.
Prepared by the City of Spartanburg.