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League Submits Comments to FCC on Wireless Siting

February 4, 2014
The League submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Monday in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could limit local government authority over siting of wireless facilities.
The comments were submitted in conjunction with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the States of California and Nevada Chapter of National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SCAN-NATOA).

The FCC is considering rules to implement wireless facility siting provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, federal legislation passed in 2012. While the main focus of the legislation was to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits, it also included provisions that require local government approval of certain wireless facilities installations even if local zoning laws or policies would otherwise preclude or limit their particular placement or location.
The League’s comments argue that the applicable section of law makes minimal changes and that no change in the current rules is warranted. If the FCC does not agree, the League argues the Commission should narrowly define the elements of an eligible facilities request as discussed above. Local communities should also retain their traditional land use authority to define a substantial change and develop procedures to flexibly respond to new technologies that will inevitably follow from Section 6409(a). After all, the most technologically neutral rule the Commission could adopt is no rule at all.
A copy of the League’s comments and a sample letter for cities is available at www.cacities.org/federal. Although the initial comment period closed Monday, the FCC will accept reply comments through March 5 and general comments will be accepted until the rulemaking is finalized.

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