Verizon’s plans to install over 1,000 new 5G poles in Sandy Springs, GA came to a halt yesterday after residents expressed concerns about a violation of statewide shelter-at-home orders.
According to Reporter Newspapers, residents of the Sandy Springs neighborhood of Derby Hills saw Verizon subcontractors preparing to install poles and contacted city officials, leading to a stop work order.
Resident Ann Bates said, “Our view is that this is not essential business and work should be stopped to allow proper social distancing.”
Bates told Reporter Newspapers the subcontractors initially said they were waiting for a letter from their management team allowing them to work, but “another truck arrived from the subcontractor and within ten minutes word came around saying that they would comply with the stop order.”
City spokesperson Sharon Kraun responded to the incident saying, “Upon hearing that subcontractors were approaching homeowners during this time of a national pandemic crisis, the city has issued a Stop Work Order on all installation in [residential] neighborhoods until the end of [the] pandemic crisis.”
Sandy Springs residents were vocal with city officials in February, when Verizon did not communicate with anyone in their neighborhood before digging on residential properties for pole placement. Local control of cell tower installations, however, is limited by federal guidelines and Kraun said “cities are allowed to require permits under those guidelines and contractors must notify residents of upcoming work.”
As of last week, Bates said some neighbors received business cards on their doors and Verizon started to mark the work locations. For now, Verizon must comply with the city’s stop work order.