by Christian Kallen Aug 9, 2018; Original Sonoma Index-Tribune article here
It was almost a full year ago, on Aug. 24, 2017, that the City of Sonoma Planning Department received the first of 10 applications from Verizon to build a series of “wireless telecommunications small cell nodes” in town, the first atop a utility pole near 725 Verano Ave.
Since that time, nine more applications have been made for such installations, most near private homes, but three of them on commercial properties. The stated reason for the multiple small cell transmitters – 5G Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas, or CPMRA – is so Verizon can provide improved wireless voice and data service in town, filling in purported coverage gaps.
But opponents of the new transmitters hold that they are dangerous, untested and unnecessary.
They also contend that the Planning Department has been slow to schedule public review of the new technology in Sonoma, a failure, they say, that puts the health of Sonoma residents at risk – with potential decrease of property values if not financial liability.
Such small-cell networks have run into public opposition in several local cities, including in Petaluma which recently put a 500-foot setback from residences on the transmission devices, and Santa Rosa which “paused” the ongoing installation of the Verizon small-cell network in June.
But in Sonoma, the first public hearing on the small-cell transmission project is finally being heard late this month, on Aug. 30, a full year after the proposals were filed by Verizon.