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Council Takes No Action on Small Cell Tower Zoning Regulation

The Montgomery County Council decided to punt the controversial proposal on zoning regulations that would have decided where small cell towers could be placed throughout the County.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Council deferred action on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 18-11, Telecommunications Towers – Approval Standards. The original goal of this zoning measure was to ensure access to robust wireless broadband services while regulating the visual impacts of its antennas, according to a statement from Council President Hans Riemer, who was a supporter of the zoning measure.

There are over 45 of these small cell antennas proposed in the Germantown area, many in the Waters Landing neighborhood.

In the last few years, Montgomery County has received a high number of applications to deploy small cell antennas in residential neighborhoods as well as commercial areas around the County. Federal law is clear that Montgomery County cannot pass zoning laws that would have the effect of prohibiting service throughout the County. Therefore, the proposed ZTA was intended to allow providers to provide service while protecting the character of both our residential neighborhoods and commercial areas by regulating how and where these antennas can be placed, and how they should be screened or camouflaged.

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