Indiana homeowners ask for more in 5G tower legislation

For years, Indiana law has allowed 5G towers to go up in front of homes without permission from those living there.


A proposal at the Indiana Statehouse could fix this problem, but some homeowners say the bill doesn’t go far enough to help.


Imagine a 5G tower put up in front of your house without notice and without your permission.


“It’s legal,” explained North Willow Farms Homeowners Association President Eric White. “And that’s the problem with a bill like HB 1164, it shouldn’t be legal.”


White said 5G towers can lower the value of a home, so lawmakers should guarantee protection for homeowners.


Instead, HB 1164 leaves a lot up to local units of government.


“It’s our hope that through our process, the HOA and the telecom provider can work and reach a consensus on an alternative location, and if they can’t, ultimately, it’s going to be up to our board to consider that final waiver application,” said Fishers City Attorney Chris Greisl.


The bill states if local governments choose, they can send a notice about a potential 5G tower to homeowners in the mail, but they can also charge the homeowner for the cost of sending that letter.


State Rep. Cherrish Pryor said she believes notifying should be required by the state.


“I do have concerns about the homeowners or anybody having to pay just to get notification about something that is happening in their area,” said Pryor. “I don’t think that they should have to pay anything.”


“I’d be happy to talk through that piece with you,” said the bill’s author, State Rep. Ethan Manning. “That’s a moving target as well.”


Manning said the bill is a work in progress, but his goal for the legislation remains.


“It’s breaking down barriers and making it easier to start and complete broadband projects across the state,” said Manning during the committee hearing Wednesday.


FOX59 reached out to Manning for comment in response to HOA concerns.


“I have met with representatives from homeowners’ and neighborhood associations along with leaders from communities across our state,” he said. “I understand their concerns and was encouraged by the testimony today that this bill is moving in the right direction. We have to balance the deployment of new technologies, which could help expand broadband access, with the concerns of affected property owners.


“I am committed to working on finding the right balance that encourages more broadband investment while keeping in mind that property owners want to, at a minimum, be notified when a small cell facility may be placed near their neighborhood.”


The bill limits how long local governments can consider a tower permit, caps permit fees and streamlines the approval process.


More amendments and a potential committee vote are expected next week.


This article originally ran on fox59.com.

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