Resolution Formalizes Montego Bay Cell Towers Denial

OCEAN CITY — With little or no discussion, resort officials this week passed a resolution formalizing and documenting the town’s denial of the placement of three small-cell towers in the Montego Bay community.

Last week, the Mayor and Council had before them a request from private-sector company Crown Castle to install three tall small-cell towers in Montego Bay. For the record, Crown Castle installs small-cell towers and nodes around the resort area and contracts with wireless providers such as Verizon and Sprint, for example, to provide hardware for enhanced wireless service.

The Mayor and Council last March received an informal request to install the three small-cell towers in Montego Bay in the MH zoning district in locations on South Ocean Drive. The council at the time denied the conceptual requests. In August, Crown Castle then submitted formal applications for the three tower sites in Montego Bay with a November deadline for the town to formally respond in writing, per Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines.

Last week, the Mayor and Council got a presentation from City Engineer Terry McGean and Crown Castle on the formal applications for the three requested sites on South Ocean Drive in Montego Bay. After a spirited public comment period during which several residents spoke vehemently about their desire not to have the towers in their community, the council voted unanimously to deny the applications.

However, because of the intricacies of FCC rules, the town’s denial of the three applications had to be formalized by resolution. That happened on Monday when the council unanimously approved a resolution denying Crown Castle’s three applications for Montego Bay.

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“This resolution documents the denial of three small wireless facilities in the MH district based on applications presented to the Mayor and Council at the October 26 work session,” the resolution reads.

Generally speaking, resort officials have worked closely with Crown Castle on the placement of small-cell towers and nodes in other areas around the resort. However, when the company has sought to place them in residential area. In fact, the town is currently in an active civil suit with the company over denial of a proposed placement of towers in north-end residential neighborhoods.

The FCC rules are complicated and there have been other suits filed over the placement of towers in other areas around the country. Formally documenting denials by resolution has been an element of the town’s active civil suit with Crown Castle over the placement of towers in the north-end residential communities.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.