SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – 5G towers are popping up all around the City of Sarasota. One of the latest installations is raising concerns with one soon-to-be resident in the Gillespie Park neighborhood.
Marla Katz and her husband purchased a plot of land in the residential neighborhood earlier this year with plans to build a home.
“We just wanted to be part of this neighborhood that is just changing so much, it’s got historic houses, it has a new house is going up and it has a really vibrant community feel,” explained Katz.
Not long after closing the deal, a 5G tower was erected in front of their property.
The tower isn’t fully assembled yet, however it resembles a number of Verizon towers that have been installed across the city.
“We came by and there was a black pole in the center of the property, pretty much where our front door is going to be,” said Katz.
Katz has a number of concerns with the tower being so close to her future home and many others in the neighborhood. She says she tried contacting Verizon, but had no luck getting any answers.
She believes the company made a mistake and installed the pole on the old property line instead of the new one updated last fall.
“I have reached out to Verizon multiple times to try to find out why it is there or why it has to be there and if they could possibly move it to one side of the lot or another or even move it one block over to a business thoroughfare,” she explained.
She contacted 8 On Your Side for help in hopes of getting some answers.
We sent a list of questions to Verizon Tuesday morning. A spokesperson sent us a brief statement in response.
“Verizon works respectfully and responsibly with each local jurisdiction to ensure that all applicable laws and regulations are followed, including right-of-way regulations and safety standards,” explained the spokesperson.
They haven’t yet responded to our follow-up questions.
The state passed laws over the last five years that greatly restrict the ability of municipalities to deny permits for the 5G towers.
Officials with the City of Sarasota explained though they are limited in what they can do, they do have certain restrictions in place under ordinance 20-5313 passed in 2020.
One of the criteria in the local ordinance states “new communications facilities, utility poles, wireless facilities, and wireless support structures shall be placed along common side-lot lines and not in front of residences, buildings or places of business”.
It remains unclear at this point if the City of Sarasota will take action.