The Coast News Group
Local residents Dana Plant, left, and Viraja Prema attend a protest organized by the group Stop 5G Encinitas outside City Hall before a council meeting on Oct. 30. Council members voted during the meeting to amend controversial policies related to up-and-coming 5G technology by placing new restrictions on where 5G cell towers could go up in the city. Photo by Abraham Jewett

Encinitas to amend 5G wireless policy

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council took some of the concerns of its residents into consideration last week when it voted Oct. 30 to amend its controversial 5G wireless policy, excluding cell towers from going up in residential areas, parks and high-risk fire hazard areas.

The towers, which have already started going up in the city, also cannot be installed within 500 feet of a daycare center, school or a home that is not in a residential zone.

Some of the amendments are in response to public input from a September workshop on the issue that was attended by about 200 residents. Some people at that workshop also indicated they wanted to restrict 5G towers from going up at or near hospitals. According to a city report, that request was not being included because Scripps Hospital does not support the restriction, saying it would be detrimental to the hospital’s daily operation needs.

Before the vote about 20 people spoke before the council, and all but one — a representative with Scripps — expressed continuing concerns about the cell towers. Another nearly 80 attendees did not speak but turned in slips to the city clerk indicating their opposition.

“The industry wants the world to be blanketed by cell antennas both on the ground where people live and sleep 24/7 and in the air with thousands of satellites emitting this radiation,” said Encinitas resident Deborah Sie. “There is no opting out of this, no free choice.”

Sie said that since 5G has been rolled out there have been numerous testimonies of harm and side effects being reported immediately and within days. Symptoms can include severe headaches, concentration difficulties, sleep problems, depression, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, memory loss, impaired learning and intense tinnitus.

Corinne Shriner, an Encinitas resident for more than 25 years and a member of the Stop 5G Encinitas group, said she has a personal interest in this issue, claiming technology has played a role in making her sick (she didn’t disclose the specifics of her illness but said she started getting sick in May).

“Once I got the … radio frequency … WiFi and others out of my house many symptoms were gone pretty rapidly, within days to weeks and I continue to improve,” she said.

Shriner said the Stop 5G group hired an attorney who has suggested 26 amendments to the current policy.

“And out of those one is probably passing right now …  there’s a lot more change that needs to be had,” she said.

Amber Ter-Vrugt from Scripps said for the past decade a technological transformation has been happening at the Encinitas hospital, with more changes anticipated and expected from patients and families. She said the hospital was appreciative that it and other health care facilities have not been put into this regulation.

“All of our planning is pointed at increased wireless capabilities in our facilities,” she said. She later added, “We’ve built a hybrid infrastructure in our facilities to ensure connectivity needs are met everywhere in our facilities so we can dynamically switch between wireless and cellular service.”

In August the Encinitas City Council adopted its new “urgency” ordinance to regulate small wireless facilities and other infrastructure deployments in the public rights-of-way. This was in response to the latest ruling by the Federal Communications Commission, which has ordered local governments to remove any regulatory barriers and speed the transition to the new technology.

After public comment at last week’s meeting, Councilman Tony Kranz said to him the issue is more about giving people a choice.

“I’ve got WiFi all over my house but if you don’t want to have WiFi in your house I don’t think you should be getting pounded with signals” he said.

He said that while the overwhelming majority of speakers at the meeting take issue with 5G towers, there are also many residents in the city who think it’s “the greatest thing since sliced bread” and want it installed. He said those residents maybe haven’t been as active at meetings because it’s not always easy to express a different opinion.

“In the end I think that it’s fair to take some steps that I think will protect you to the greatest extent possible,” Kranz concluded.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the amendments. They said they will consider other community-suggested amendments at a later meeting.


Damien D. November 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

Has everyone lost the irony with the photo included with this story!!? Apparently Viraja Prema thinks it’s perfectly OK to use her smart phone to protest 5G, but the technology to use her smart phone is not OK? Am I missing something?

If 5G were really that bad, these people would be ditching their phones, not protesting the technology that allows them to work!

Gordon Lightfoot November 8, 2019 at 12:26 pm

There is zero evidence that 5G is harmful. What are these crazy people talking about?

“Getting pounded with signals”? What is he talking about?

I have an idea – how about they fashion tin foil hats to block the “signals”?

Billy Swinnea November 8, 2019 at 10:17 am

Once again the City of Encinitas goes forward with a plan with limited investigation.
I’ll tell you the story about sewer pipes in the streets that a law was passed making homeowners responsible for repairs. In the street not on your property. If the streets are not properly maintained and heavy trucks drive over the homeowners sewer line, it is no a leap of faith that wear can occur.

Ryan November 8, 2019 at 7:19 am

I think we need a greater choice inner who we use as our ISP and 5G is that other option. Cox and AT&T offer poor connectivity options, high prices and are essentially running a monopoly. 5G has such a short wavelength that it won’t penetrate hardly anything and having the tower closer and smaller means that it will transmit at a lower amplitude. On its face, it seems safer to me than 3 and 4G and possibly even WiFi, since those penetrate and go right through people. Second, the FCC sells and owns the electromagnetic spectrum. If 5G fails, it’s spectrum will get sold off at auction to the highest bidder for the next newly branded technology. Long story short, the full EMS will be saturated all the time in our modern world, no way around it. The minority that are effected by it will have to live in a Faraday cage up until the days that the FCC outlaws the use of the spectrum due to health concerns that will probably never get reported in a prestegious enough journal for them to take notice it care about.

Susan Brinchman November 8, 2019 at 1:06 pm

There is never an excuse to harm the public knowingly. For scientific information on the harm that microwave and millimeter wave radiation cause, visit

Gordon Freeman November 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm

May God bless those who fought to protect he good people of Encinitas in this way. History will soon record their brave and principled stand against what amounts to none other than corporate greed and genocide. May God help the rest of American society (because the corporatocracy certainly won’t). #Stop5G

Susan Brinchman November 7, 2019 at 2:44 pm

I commend the residents of Encinitas and the surrounding towns for their continued outspoken stance against 4G and 5G small cells in close proximity to their homes, businesses, schools, and more, in their beautiful beach-side town. I think Scripps Hospital needs to exercise due diligence to see all the studies (tens of thousands) linking cancers and at least 122 medical conditions / biological effects resulting from wireless. Scripps’ stance smacks of the days when doctors recommended smoking as safe. Get rid of wireless in your hospital. It may seem convenient but health comes first. I will certainly boycott that hospital knowing it has dangerous wifi there and wants 5G. I encourage Encinitas activists and residents to keep the pressure on and make the city council and mayor provide an airtight protective policy regarding small cell wireless. Susan Brinchman, Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention

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