Pennsylvania 5G Law Passes With Little Fanfare
By Bob Small
HB 162 was passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature, and signed into law as Act 50 on June 30 by the Gov. Tom Wolf. The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act was passed with only three dissenting votes and little notice. The idea is to accelerate 5G infrastructure in Pennsylvania
We all, of course, want the modern world of 5G and any route to this sounds like it must be harmless. Well, yes and no. First, we learned of this item at the July Swarthmore Borough Council Meeting. We learned that the mini-towers required for 5G could be planted on the grass strips that many of us have between sidewalk and street.
This is property we had thought was owned by the homeowners and, we assumed, was part of what we pay taxes for We assumed we had control of what goes on on these strips. Guess not.
Now, according to State Senator Tim Kearney (D-26 and a former fine Mayor of Swarthmore) there are but sevem exceptions whereas a municipality can “refuse the installation of small cells.” None of these 7 exemptions apply to these street strips already having a planting of any kind of tree, neither fruit trees or saplings, or… These would probably have to go, though that’s a small price for progress, one supposes.
The apple harvest we had this year may be our last.
There’s an exception for Historical Markers, but this would not necessarily apply to, say, Swarthmore’s Historically Black Neighborhood. Each case like this might have to be brought up individually. How this might effect Swarthmore College is still unclear.
We have also been told that all these initial requests will be coming to your town by the end of the†month.
According to Legiscan.com, the only three nays, in the State House, were Democrat Kevin J. Boyle, and Republicans Carl Walker Metzgar, and Brett R. Miller, none of whom mentioned it on their websites.
Boyle, who participated in some forums I organized, did not respond as to his reasons to vote against this bill. No one in the Pennsylvania Senate opposed it.
Bob Small is a resident of Swarthmore.