New guidelines for 5G towers in Tucson

A newly release manual from the City of Tucson is now serving as the rule book
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:22 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Small cell poles - 5G towers - have been popping up all over the country and here in Tucson. It is a wireless pole to provide faster speed internet and better cell reception.

However, the towers have been a constant battle between residents, the City of Tucson, AT&T and Verizon. But some new updates will hopefully break some barriers.

A newly release manual from the City of Tucson is now serving as the rule book. Ward 6 Councilman, Steve Kozachik says the manual explains terms and conditions of where these poles can be installed.

“For instance, they cannot be put through people’s landscape anymore,” Kozachik said. “They cannot be within 150 feet of another vertical element that means that is going to force a conversation about collocation.”

Prior to this manual, residents and the City of Tucson had zero say on where these 5G towers go, except for AT&T and Verizon.

“So instead of somebody hanging a door hanger on Allie Potter’s house 10 days before the backhoe shows up. We need to reach out to Allie Potter and have a conversation about here is what we are considering,” Kozachik said. “Does it work for you? Maybe there are other options in your neighborhood.”

But still, some residents do not want them.

“I don’t see that we need more. We are doing well with what we have got,” Stuart Moody said.

Moody lives in the Sam Hughes neighborhood. He said the 5G towers are unnecessary, an eyesore, and a health hazard.

“A source of damage to one’s physiology, cognition, health, and so on,” Moody said.

“There are always going to be a group of people who feel the technology is dangerous,” Kozachik said. “That group of people simply does not understand the City of Tucson has no legal authority to enter that conversation.”

KOLD News 13 reached out to the cell phone companies, below are their responses.

Toni M. Broberg - President of AT&T Arizona and New Mexico

“By continuing to improve our network, we are helping businesses grow in Arizona and helping to ensure that our customers and communities stay connected throughout the country. We will continue to work closely with local leaders in Tucson to minimize impact to the community while bringing additional wireless broadband connectivity.”

Heidi Flato - Verizon Spokeswoman

“Our small cell deployment in Tucson benefits all Verizon customers in the area. There is more information about how it improves everyone’s service posted here.

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