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Supervisors OK zoning changes, lawsuit over 5G technology


Last updated 4/9/2019 at 4:29pm

SAN DIEGO - The Board of Supervisors approved numerous zoning changes, including one for the 5G wireless technology rollout, even as the county plans to sue the federal government over it.

In closed session on Monday, the supervisors voted to file an amicus brief in a lawsuit involving small-cell wireless facilities. The county's legal department did not offer further details on the legal action.

Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission approved a new rule, now in effect, on the 5G wireless network deployment. Critics say the rule curtails local authority by limiting fees that local governments may assess on companies that place or build new wireless service facilities.

The FCC rule also gave local governments 60 days to evaluate applications from wireless companies on 5G structures.

During a Feb. 27 public hearing, supervisors heard from opponents of 5G facilities, who cited serious health risks from small-cell tower radiation, declining property values and unwelcome aesthetic changes in rural communities.

Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said during the hearing that she resented the FCC telling the county what to do on the 5G timeline.

"We have a good ordinance on wireless facilities, which allows them to be placed in appropriate places while protecting communities,'' she said.

The board's approval of 21 zoning changes will also cover housing for senior citizens and farm workers, certain types of density building and condominium development in the county.

According to the county Planning & Development Services department, the changes will help the county better carry out growth initiatives, streamline and clarify regulations, address new uses and business practices, and carry out new state and federal regulations.


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