The fight in Dewey Beach over 5G cell towers continues to heat up, with a new lawsuit and continued frustration from town officials.
Dewey Beach officials and residents are extremely frustrated with the 5G cell phone poles erected on the beachfront by Verizon.
And now a new lawsuit filed by three beachfront residents — Alex Pires, Diane Cooley and John Snow — claim some poles were constructed without building permits, and those with permits didn’t follow the application process.
Plaintiffs argue Dewey Beach has never had permanent poles constructed along the beachfront in the town’s history, and these new cell phone poles are an eyesore, lower property values and negatively affect tourism in the town.
State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) was asked to help mediate. He says the goal is to remove the current poles, and relocate the transmitters elsewhere.
“Verizon is hampered because Delmarva power would not let them put those things on their poles. That’s the problem," said Schwartzkopf. "So we have been talking to — I’ve been talking to representatives with Delmarva, Verizon has been engaged with Delmarva. You know, we’ve been talking this thing out.”
But the process of relocating the cell towers may not start until the fall. Schwarzkopf says Verizon doesn’t want to move them during peak tourist season and disrupt wireless service.
Verizon currently has five towers up, and Schwartzkopf says at least two are already coming down, with more hopefully to follow.
The town council supports the residents, and is working to fix the situation, including signing a new agreement with DelDOT giving the town more control over permitting for new poles.
The Court of Chancery issued a temporary restraining order Thursday to prevent further installation of poles until it rules in the case, or it approves an agreement among the parties involved on future installation.
Some residents have also formed the Save Dewey Beach Foundation, and are organizing a protest on July 5th to push for the relocation of the 5G poles away from the beach.