Small wireless facilities - antenna (copy)

A "small cell" wireless antenna at 501 Park Ave.

Lancaster’s government hasn’t given up on trying to stop 5G wireless antennas from going where the city doesn’t want them.

The city has filed an appeal in Lancaster County Court challenging a ruling issued in March by the Zoning Hearing Board.

In the decision, the board gave the company New Cingular Wireless retroactive permission for antennas it had installed on utiity poles at 684 Hebrank St. and 501 Park Ave.

The board is empowered to rule on applications for zoning exceptions and variances. Its members are appointed by City Council. 

The city had argued the poles qualified as “telecommunications towers” under city zoning, which limits such towers to certain streets.

The board disagreed, saying the poles were merely “wireless support structures” and not subject to the restriction.

The city's filing asks the county court to reverse the decision. It alleges the board committed errors of law and “capriciously ignored” the zoning code.

New Cingular, which does business as AT&T Mobility, has filed notice that it is an “intervenor” in the court case, which allows the company to advocate for its interests.

New Cingular says there are multiple grounds for allowing the antennas. Among other things, it contends construing the city’s zoning code to exclude the antennas would violate federal telecommunications law.

The antennas are so-called “small-cell antennas, which bolster data service in a limited area. The nationwide rollout of 5G services by New Cingular and other telecom companies is expected to lead to their substantial proliferation.

Lancaster and other cities are worried about the effect on neighborhood streetscapes, and are trying to retain some say over their deployment.