Los Angeles, CA—Today, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn asked the Department of Regional Planning to prepare the County’s first ever ordinance regulating the installation of cellular towers in communities.
The cellular industry is rolling out 5G service and installing hundreds of thousands of new cell towers in neighborhoods nationwide. Since 2015, Los Angeles County’s Department of Regional Planning has reported a 300% increase in the number of applications it has received for new cell towers. However, the County currently has no ordinance regulating cell tower installation and has instead relied on outdated regulations on television and radio towers.
“County residents have seen a huge explosion of cell towers being installed in their neighborhoods, at their children’s schools, and outside their bedroom windows,” said Supervisor Hahn. “I have heard from residents who are concerned—not just because they are unsightly—but because they worry about potential health effects. We need to be able to regulate where these towers can go and protect communities from an overconcentration.”
5G service uses high-frequency waves that cannot travel as far as current wireless frequencies. That means that cellular companies are going to install more so-called “small cell sites” at intervals that are much closer together.
While Federal regulation does not allow local governments to regulate cell tower placement based on health impacts, the County can regulate based on other standards.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proposal authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn instructing the Department of Regional Planning to prepare an ordinance that establishes standards for the location, height, and design of cell towers. The Department was also instructed to outreach to interested community members in drafting new regulations. The ordinance will apply to unincorporated communities.