WARREN, Pa. – A wireless communications ordinance involving the construction, installation, use, maintenance, and removal of wireless communication facilities in the City of Warren was approved by the City Council during Monday’s meeting, an important step in the process to bring 5G to the city.
“We spent a lot of time on this,” said Randy Gustafson of the City of Warren Planning Commission. “Our goal is to spur the ability for better communication in the city and not be reliant on an ordinance that was solely centered on big towers. We wanted to make sure this ordinance would recognize changes in technologies and use smaller antennas that would not take away from the historic district. I think we achieved that.”
The issue has been brought up at council meetings several times over the course of the past year, with Bob Ritter and Thomas Musgrove of Crown Castle (a communications infrastructure firm), assisting with the ordinance as well.
The ordinance passed 4-3, with council members Wendy McCain, Phil Gilbert, Maurice Cashman and Jared Villella voting for it and Mayor Dave Wortman, as well as council members Danielle Flasher and John Wortman voting against
John Wortman said he wasn’t opposed to the ordinance but expressed concerned by virtue of proposing an amendment to the ordinance that would have struck out the language that would require the city to have the first look at location of the facility.
“The presentation we had from experts said they will put the facility where it best fits,” John Wortman said. “A service is being provided. Private industry should make the choice of the best place for their services. Ordinances should be as least restrictive as necessary. The ordinance in its current form doesn’t allow that.”
Gustafson stressed the importance of improved technology to attract younger people to stay in Warren.
“The most important thing is it reflects changes in technology,” Gustafson said. “If you want to see Warren grow, you have to make it the best place for technology. It’s not perfect, but this is a necessary step. 5G is important to attract younger people.”