The Lavallette planning board will hold a hearing Wednesday night on six proposed 5G “small cell” nodes – the first such application to be scrutinized by the board since the borough adopted an updated 5G equipment ordinance earlier this month.
The board will hear Verizon’s application to install 5G small cell nodes at:
- 72 Oceanfront
- 102 President Ave.
- 2201 Baltimore Ave.
- 100 Oceanfront
- 110 White Ave.
- 506 Oceanfront
Small cell nodes are deployed around certain areas in order to create a mesh of coverage that allows for reliable phone service and high speed internet. A frequent complaint locally, mainly during the summer months, is that while signal strength is strong, network capacity leads to significant lag time which affects streaming applications, teleconferencing software and other applications that require large amounts of data transfer. Different wireless providers utilize different technologies to deliver 5G signals over particular areas – Verizon has bet on its “small cell” nodes, which are placed on top of existing utility poles when possible.
Lavallette recently passed an updated ordinance on the deployment of 5G network nodes, however federal regulations offer municipal governments little regulatory powers since the technology is considered federally-regulated infrastructure. Lavallette’s new ordinance established a right-of-way permitting program which limits where the nodes can be placed, though federal regulations require exceptions to be granted if there is no alternative. Nodes cannot be placed within 200 feet of each other, though officials said they originally wanted to create a 500-foot buffer between them.
The ordinance prohibits ground-level cabinets – boxes that provide supporting equipment and power to the nodes – in the RA, RB and RC residential zones and on any “public grounds.” It also requires a review by the borough engineer.
The planning board, under the new ordinance, does not have the final power to grant a permit even if they approve of the application. The borough council has the final say on approval based on the recommendations of the planning board, though in practice it would be uncommon for a municipal government to go against its own planning board.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the borough municipal building, 1306 Grand Central Avenue.