Press Release for changes to the Thurston County Wireless Code
WHAT: Adverse changes to the Thurston County Wireless Code
WHO: Thurston County Citizens for a Sensible Wireless Code
WHEN: Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing Tuesday, February 7th at
WHERE: 3000 Pacific Ave/ SE, Commissioners’ Boardroom (110), Olympia, WA
Thurston County will be replacing the Wireless Code that has been in use for 20 years. The Code changes
will impact citizens for a generation to come. With the changes in technology, and the implementation of
5G, it is important for citizens to be aware of the potential impacts of the proposed Code on their property and property values. This new proposed Code can impact residents and their property without their knowledge or consent. The new Wireless Code does not offer citizens a voice, input or notification on what could be right outside their home.
The County is updating their Code for wireless facility siting permits, in part to comply with new more
industry-favorable regulatory agency guidelines. The FCC has far exceeded Congressional directives in the
Telecommunications Act by, for example, the FCC authorizing industry use of our public rights of way
(streets, alleys) for small cell facilities, imposing shorter permit decision timelines, and significantly minimizing justification requirements. The Code includes the following adverse impacts:
– As little as 10’ setbacks for wireless facilities from homes, schools, & businesses.
– No required safety testing or advance notice, public comment, or opportunity to appeal for most
wireless facilities installations
– Up to 4 equipment boxes per wireless provider including noisy fans and generators, with as little as
10’ setback from homes, schools, and businesses.
– Lack of accountability, verification of compliance, design standards, and more.
However, the County has gone well beyond what is necessary to comply with the Telecommunications Act
and given away the County’s local decision-making control. Among some changes: it has moved a
significant portion of permits, including in residential zones, to administrative permits that bypass public
notice and public comment; setbacks are minimal.
The Planning Commission moved the Code forward to the County Commissioners with three Planning
Commissioners dissenting with a Minority Report. The comments made in the initial comment period and
the recommendations of the citizens presented by the citizens on the Stakeholder Committee were
primarily ignored. Virtually none of the citizen recommendations, many of which were heavily echoed by
public comment, were integrated into the next draft.
The Board of County Commissioners has opened a public comment period for feedback on the Wireless
Code, accepting written comments through noon February 7, 2023, and with a public hearing in person or
via zoom on February 7, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. At this hearing, the Code could be adopted as it is currently
For a more extensive discussion of Code shortcomings, see https://www.thurstonsensiblewireless.com/
For more information including related documents see Information from the county, including the draft
Code, and Minority Report.
Recommendation of the Citizens on the Wireless Stakeholder Committee:
We welcome your interest in this issue, please email email@example.com to arrange a discussion with a citizen member of the Wireless Stakeholder Committee organized by the Planning Commission