Virtual Meetings and 5G Towers Are Back on the Park City Council’s Agenda This Week
This week’s Park City Council meeting will revisit a topic that sparked public interest when it was on the agenda last year: 5G towers.
Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to kick off at 4:40pm with a brief discussion on trash plans for downtown Park City before diving into an hour-long work session on 5G towers at 5 o’clock.
Federal and state legislation prevents municipalities in Utah from rejecting the use of 5G towers, but Park City is attempting to have some say on the matter anyway.
5G is the fifth generation of cellphone data technology. It was first introduced to major cities across the country in 2019 and has been slowly expanding across the U.S. since then.
The topic was last in front of the council in July 2020, and drew some public concern over perceived health risks associated with radio waves in the new technology.
City Manager Matt Dias said although state and federal statutes complicate the issue, the council heard the public loud and clear last year and has drafted an ordinance regulating the location, height, and design of future 5G towers in Park City.
“Park City Municipal then has to come up with, in our opinion, sort of a belt and suspenders approach to try to eke every regulatory aspect we can to favor local control and make more stringent regulations where we can, but not violate state or federal law,” said Dias. “We like to think, the last time we talked to council and the community about it a little less than a year ago, we heard loud and clear that residents wanted us to give it the Park City hell, quite frankly, and we gave it all we got. We have what we think is about as a strict ordinance as we could possibly have.”
Dias encouraged the public to provide feedback on the proposed ordinance on Thursday, which can be found here.
In the wake of this week’s cancellation of the Park City Song Summit and Summit County recently moving to a high level of COVID-19 transmission, city hall also announced it will return to holding meetings virtually. Meetings had transitioned to a hybrid style over the summer with councilors and staff in person and streamed online, but with new cases in Utah continuing to surge, things are going back to Zoom and Facebook Live.
Dias said as far as future event cancellations are concerned, the city will follow the Summit County Health Department’s lead when it comes to further public health measures.
“As a municipality, we’ve obviously ratcheted up our services, but I think vendors like Park Silly and others are beginning to think about contingencies and what will happen if Summit County has to implement stricter measures,” he said. “I think people are preparing for it, but we’re on high alert, absolutely. I think we’re disappointed to be where we are. I didn’t think that this would happen, but we have to prepare for it, obviously, and we’re trying to do that.”
A link to the complete council agenda and details on how to participate in the virtual meeting can be found here.