Fenwick Approves Wireless Infrastructure Ordinance

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island last week agreed to several charter and ordinance amendments, including an addition to the town code that outlines requirements for installing wireless infrastructure and new verbiage that will alter requirements for parking in the commercial zone.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve several charter and ordinance changes on second reading, including an addition to the town’s code that provides conditions for wireless service providers that wish to install small cell antennas on support structures, including utility poles and street lights, in town.

Bill Weistling, chair of the town’s Charter and Ordinance Committee, said the town has been working with representatives from Verizon since last year to improve cell service in Fenwick Island. He said the new code would act as an agreement the town can use when contracting with any provider wishing to install wireless infrastructure on poles located in town.

“This is a basic agreement for any cellphone provider …,” he said. “It’s more of a legal document.”

In a public hearing prior to the town council meeting, resident Buzz Henifin questioned where the antennas would be installed and how many new poles would be needed to accommodate them.

“How many poles are we going to get and where will they be located?” he said.

Verizon representative Bonnie Metz said the small cell antennas will either attach to existing poles or poles that have been replaced.

“We are still in the process of determining the exact locations …,” she said. “Currently I think there are 20 locations that we’re looking at. A lot will be on Bunting Avenue. I think in all cases, we will either be going on an existing pole that’s already there or replacing it with a new pole to give us more height.”

The council voted 5-0, with Councilman Roy Williams and Councilwoman Julie Lee absent, to approve the ordinance on second reading.

The council also voted last Friday to approve ordinance amendments that would add definitions to the town’s zoning code and require improved lots used for commercial parking to contain permanent structures with working utilities and one bathroom.

“These were changes requested by our town attorney to provide definitions … and to define in better detail parking in a commercial area on improved lots,” Weistling said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.