Click to view order on Crown Castle Fiber LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment in the Crown Castle Fiber LLC v. City of Charleston litigation pending in US District Court in the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division
Houston based 5G infrastructure installation company Crown Castle sued the City of Charleston for discouraging small cell infrastructure downtown. As a result Charleston passed the current Small Cell Ordinance so the installation process could begin.
This ordinance is written in favor of the wireless industry and offers no protection Charleston residents.
Charleston residents spoke at three city council meetings asking council members to send the unacceptable Small Cell Ordinance back to corporate counsel attorneys for revisions. Specifically residents wanted the ordinance to restrict the installation of small cell towers and antennas to a minimum of 300 feet from schools, day cares, and homes.
Charleston City Council voted in favor of sending the Small Cell Ordinance back to the city attorneys for revision to include the restriction limiting installation of towers/antennas at least 300 feet away from schools, day cares and homes.
In addition, City Council also passed a resolution to go to the State Senate opposing the passing of any legislation to further restrict local governments in the deployment of 5G - see SC Bill H4262 "South Carolina Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act". (click here for contact lists and tools to tell our State Reps to vote NO on H4262).
Third, City Council passed a resolution to go to the U.S. Congress asking for a review of FCC regulations and urging new studies on the health risks of 5G technology, since none currently exist.
Senate subcommittee meetings began on Bill H4262. Concerned citizens from all over the state of South Carolina attended and spoke opposing H4262, which restricts local governments decision making power in regards to 5G deployment, giving more power to the wireless industry.
At the last subcommittee meeting, which occurred on March 5, concerned citizens opposing the bill were told by the subcommittee that the Charleston attorneys only came to statehouse with 5G cell tower aesthetic concerns. They claimed to have not been presented with the Charleston City Council resolution opposing H4262.
Our group later learned the Charleston city attorneys were contacted by "someone from the other side" and offered a deal if Charleston decided it would not oppose H4262. The details of this agreement have not been disclosed, but the result on the other side was Charleston's support of H4262.
Because of this agreement at the state level, Charleston City Council's opposition to H4262 had been intercepted and buried. We are still trying to piece together what happened.
In discussions with a representative for Stop 5G Charleston, Mayor Tecklenburg said he feels it is unlikely that the current Small Cell Ordinance will be revised to meet our requests to restrict the placement of small cell antennas at least 300 feet from schools, day cares, and homes. He said the reason is because of the FCC 2018 Order and now the pending State H4262 bill which restrict local government power in such decisions.
**Update, now with state Bill H4262 vote postponed because of COVID, the City of Charleston has more time to make changes to its Small Cell Ordinance before the state bill potentially goes into affect and Charleston still has local decision making power. Please email and call Mayor Tecklenburg's office with your concerns about 5G deployment and the minimum protection we need to offer schools, day cares and residential homes. Click here for contact information for our city government officials.
Despite schools and businesses being closed, small cell infrastructure companies continue to install towers and antennas as they have been deemed "essential services" during the crisis. Our group contacted Mayor Tecklenburg and Charleston city attorney/corporate counsel to question the installation of infrastructure for a 5G service (that won't be operational for many months if not years) as an "essential" service during the crisis. We were told if the installation companies have been classified as "essential" by the governor, then there is nothing that can be done. So, the 5G infrastructure installation companies have been granted permission to continue work in Charleston, while all other "non-essential" businesses are forced to close.