Clallam County to hear changes for 5G wireless technology

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners are preparing to take up the Clallam County Planning Commission’s recommended changes to the county’s wireless facilities ordinance during a public hearing slated for mid-July.

Commissioner Mark Ozias said during a work session Monday that with the voluminous public testimony regarding health concerns over 5G technology, county staff will need to make it clear how they reached their proposal.

Ozias said it is clear from the testimony, which was taken during several Planning Commission meetings and via email, that people who are concerned about 5G want the county to be as careful as possible when moving forward.

The public hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. July 16 during the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting at the Clallam County Courthouse.

“Knowing this is something the public is concerned about tells me, as we move forward with this, we should be as thorough as possible and use every opportunity to help the public understand what we have done to get to this point,” Ozias said.

The current ordinance allows 5G technology, and what is being proposed would add more regulations for the technology.

During public meetings, members of the community have urged county officials to defy federal law by prohibiting the deployment of 5G technology in Clallam County.

They cited health concerns over the new technology, which uses microcells for wireless networks. The technology promises faster speeds when connecting to the network and the ability to connect many devices to the internet without bogging it down.

The Clallam County Planning Commission recommended an amendment to the county’s wireless communications facilities ordinance in April. The ordinance does not specifically address 5G, but much of the discussion about the ordinance has revolved around the technology.

On Monday, officials recommended inviting Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank and Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Alvarez to the public hearing to discuss health concerns and the county’s limitations on regulating the technology.

Unthank has previously told the planning commission that studies show that 5G is not hazardous to health.

“Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation has been extensively studied by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [World Health Organization] since the 1970s, when these concerns were first raised,” Unthank said in an email.

“These studies have found no consistent association between exposure to electromagnetic radiation in the amounts experienced in the average American home and increased risks of cancer, depression, cardiovascular disorders or reproductive dysfunction.”

Ozias cited concerns about 5G, but his questions pertained to the logistics of how the county could handle the number of permits that would be required if a wireless network wanted to bring 5G to Clallam County.

Ozias said that “one of the things fundamentally different” about 5G technology is that the antennas need to be much closer together, meaning there could be more permits needed in order to implement the technology.

Principal Planner Kevin LoPiccolo said the ordinance addresses that. If a wireless network wants to install multiple antennas, it would require a single application and a process that involves notification of those nearby and use of the hearings examiner.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

More in News

Don Dundon, sales manager at Wilder Toyota, plucks the winning duck from a Wilder truck Sunday at the 33rd annual Duck Derby on Sunday. The winner was Tracy’s Insulation. More than 32,000 ducks were sold this year, the most in the past 12 years. (Dave Logan/For Peninsula Daily News)
Top duck plucked in annual fundraising derby

New record set for Olympic Medical Center Foundation

Duck Derby winners

Thirty-three people won prizes in the 33rd annual Duck… Continue reading

Water outlook bright on Peninsula

Drought forecast for much of Washington

First Fed provides grants to nonprofits

Funding supporting economic development and COVID-19 recovery

The 86th Rhody Festival float, with Princesses Brigette Palmer, left, and Hailey Hirschel waving to the crowd as they go along Lawrence Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Port Townsend. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Rhody weekend

The 86th Rhody Festival float, with Princesses Brigette Palmer, left, and Hailey… Continue reading

Holding their Leadership trophies presented to them in an awards program Saturday at the Port Ludlow Marina are, from left, Rob Birman, executive director of Centrum, Business Leader of the Year; Akira Anderson, Future Business Leader of the Year; and Wendy and Brent Davis, owners of Lila’s Kitchen, Rising Entrepreneur of the year. Two other winners who were unable to attend are Ariel Speser, Citizen of the Year, and Dr. Allison Berry, Young Professional of the Year. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Community leadership awards honor heroes

Former City Council member Citizen of Year

North Olympic Library System upgrades its online catalog

The North Olympic Library System will transition to a… Continue reading

Bret Allen Kenney was in court on Friday.
$5 million bail set in officer assault

Man also a person of interest in homicide of his mother

Candidate filing week ends with list of hopefuls

Three contests to be on primary ballot

Most Read