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Leaders in Dalton, Ga., Race to Get Ahead of 5G Deployments

The ordinance, under discussion, would implement a local law that passed the state legislature earlier this year setting standards and fees for when those antennas are installed on public property.

by Charles Oliver, The Daily Citizen / September 17, 2019

(TNS) — So-called 5G wireless technology promises connection speeds 10 times greater than current cellphone technology.

But to roll out 5G, telephone companies will have to use an entirely new type of antenna, smaller and spaced more closely together, than traditional cellphone towers. The Dalton City Council is trying to stay ahead of this new technology.

Council members on Monday had the first reading of an ordinance that would govern how 5G antennas are installed on public rights-of-way in the city. The ordinance would implement locally a law that passed the state legislature earlier this year that set standards and fees for when those antennas are installed on public property. That law takes effect Oct. 1.

"This local ordinance provides the city, as outlined in the (state) law, to guide the installation of poles and antennas, and encourages various providers to collocate their equipment instead of all of them installing separate facilities," said City Administrator Jason Parker. "There is some protection for historic districts and residential areas. We are simply trying to work with providers so that we do not suddenly see an uncoordinated proliferation of antennas and poles along our streets."

The state law allows cities to limit heights of poles in historic districts and residential areas and to set standards for their designs in those areas.

"This technology is coming," said council member Annalee Harlan. "This law will give us as much control as possible over placement and esthetics."

The council is expected to vote on the measure at its Oct. 7 meeting.

During their meeting, council members voted 4-0 to:

• Accept a donation of .93 acres in Rocky Face Circle from Stefan and Shirley Fromm. Parker said the property is one of the highest points in that subdivision and is bisected by a creek. The council accepted the property to keep the creek from being disturbed in the future and creating drainage problems downstream.

• Approve a budget amendment that, among other things, transfers $173,255 from the city's fund balance for the Public Works Department to purchase a new garbage truck and a new Ford F150 truck. The city has three garbage trucks and runs two routes each weekday.

"The truck we are replacing is our backup," said Assistant Public Works Director Andrew Parker. "The body is completely rusted out and some of the rails where the compactor slides back and forth are really degraded. It makes us a little nervous to run that truck when one of our other trucks is down for maintenance."

Parker said they hope to take delivery of the new truck by the end of the year.

• Prohibit parking on the east side of Thornton Place from the stop sign at Walnut Avenue to 100 feet south. Andrew Parker said the change is needed to keep vehicles from blocking access to a fire hydrant as well as a handicapped entrance into V.D. Parrott Jr. Park.

Mayor Dennis Mock, who typically votes only in the event of a tie, was absent from the meeting.

©2019 The Daily Citizen (Dalton, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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