Birmingham updates wireless codes

Birmingham Township supervisors Monday night voted to approve two ordinances that update township code to accommodate new wireless services. They also approved an amendment to the zoning code dealing with setbacks and solar energy.

Kristin Camp, the township solicitor, said that amending the code for telecommunications provides new regulation, adding definitions, new terms, and timelines to approve applications for new facilities.

"This change has been in the works for quite some time as a result of some changes in state and federal law," she said, adding that the township and county planning commissions recommended adopting the amendment to comply with the new definitions and timeframes contained in those new laws.

Camp also said the amendment peels out a section on small wireless facilities into a separate ordinance to comply with the new federal definitions and to streamline the review process for such facilities.

"If those facilities are 45 feet or shorter, they would be permitted in the right of way by conditional use," she said.

Supervisors' Chairman Scott Boorse said it's his understanding that the change deals with the 5G potential of having wireless antennas installed on telephone poles, street lights, buildings, and existing cell phone towers.

"It gives the township the ability to negotiate with installers of these facilities, or at least have some input," Boorse said.

Those 5G facilities would be allowed along Routes 202 and 926 and on Creek Road, but they can't be located within the historic district or on lands that are part of the Brandywine Battlefield, Camp added.

The other amendment to the zoning code adds a definition for lot line and how setbacks are to be measured for accessory structures. The amendment also removes a provision that said solar facilities should not be visible from the road.

Other business

Supervisors approved the 2021 budget with no tax increase. Township millage remains at 1.6 mils for next year.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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