You could soon have better cell service in Naples, but not everyone is happy with the idea. The City of Naples is limited in what it can do about a communications company’s plan to stick large 5G cell towers in a popular spot.
Opponents say the 33-foot 5G poles don’t meet city design standards. The city can’t control where they go, but they do have a say in their appearance.
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This battle over 5G towers in Naples dates back to 2018. The company that needs to build them wants to get going, but the city and many people in Naples are unhappy with how they will look.
The 33-foot high black pole that stands by the city pier provides more cell service and faster data for all providers. The company that owns it, Crown Castle, wants to build four more along the 3rd Street South district.
“We’re at a point where we need to move forward. We haven’t had this problem anywhere else,” said a representative with Crown Castle.
Crown Castle representatives say the City of Naples is falling behind on tech advancement. They say the areas for placement are chosen due to weak signals and high congestion, like 3rd Street South.
Much of the area is owned by Neapolitan Enterprises. They don’t like the idea of those huge poles, and neither do members of Naples City Council.
“An observation, no one wants a mini-fridge put in front of them on a main street. It looks, to me, unsightly,” said Naples City Councilwoman Beth Petrunoff.
Crown Castle has worked with city staff on design and placement. The city doesn’t get to choose where the towers go. A 2017 Florida law took away a local government’s ability to regulate the location of 5G towers, but the city has some say in the look.
“They simply do not meet the criteria of the city’s design standards,” said an attorney for Neapolitan Enterprises.
Nothing was decided by Naples City Council on Tuesday. City council members said they have more questions to be answered before moving forward with construction.