Victory in Ithaca – Dec. 2021

The City of Ithaca has officially established updates to the wireless codes. It will greatly limit redundant cell antennas in the city, which is a big win for health of city residents as well as its environment.

Restrictive new code provisions for the City of Ithaca

  • A 1500 foot setback between antennas (old code: 0 feet)
  • A 250 foot setback between antennas and homes/schools (old code: 8 feet)
    (Note: Although a 1500 foot setback would be better, since schools are in dense residential areas, this provision will achieve a similar result.)
  • Requiring proof of a significant gap in service coverage for any antenna, proven by ‘in-kind’ testing (such as drive-by tests and dropped calls)
  • Clarifying that an applicant’s claim that it needs the proposed tower for “future capacity” or to “improve coverage” is not sufficient to establish that it suffers from a significant gap in coverage
  • Requiring the least intrusive methods to fill any coverage gap for antennas
  • Requiring that a visual impact analysis be submitted for any new proposed antennas
  • Requiring General Liability Insurance without a pollution exclusion
  • Allowing for random, unannounced radiation testing for all towers done by the City at the expense of the applicant
  • Including fall-zone requirements that wireless facilities are maintained at a sufficient distance from other structures and the general public
  • Allowing for revocability (a clause allowing the voiding of any contract requiring its modification in the event of a regulatory change)
  • Mandating certified mail notices of any proposed tower be sent to people living near a proposed site before approval, paid for by the applicant.
  • Establishing a procedure for any disabled persons suffering from EHS to submit requests/grievances in accordance with the ADA
  • Establishing that the codes apply to all wireless transmitting antennas, including any on private homes (aimed at the OTARD challenge)
  • Deputizing any citizen to test for RF emissions
  • Protecting against reductions in property values of properties situated near wireless facilities
  • Requiring that everything submitted by the applicant is done so under oath and penalty of perjury

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