Many states have recognized that wireless communications are an essential ingredient in their future, impacting economics, public safety, education and social development. Because wireless infrastructure deployment is such an important part of the state’s overall wireless future, state legislatures may consider legislation that provides more certainty of process in siting wireless infrastructure.
WIA has developed model legislation that encourages collocation on existing facilities and provides municipalities guidelines on how to effectively develop their own wireless siting ordinances. The legislation balances municipalities’ concerns about the aesthetic and safety impacts of wireless facilities with citizens’ demand for ubiquitous wireless communications. This model legislation, provided complimentary, has been endorsed by both the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
WIA’s model legislation has been used as a guide in developing wireless facilities legislation in the following states:
CAL. GOV’T CODE § 65850.6 (2006) Requires cities and counties to approve an application for a collocation on a wireless telecommunications facility through administrative approval. Further, the Bill narrowly tailors the actions a locality can take as conditions for approval of permits for the construction of a wireless facility—for example a locality cannot require an escrow deposit for removal of a facility.
FLA. STAT. § 365.172 (2006) Amended Florida law to establish that collocation is subject only to building-permit review and that an existing tower—including a non-conforming tower—may be replaced or modified to accommodate collocation through only administrative review. Further limits the information a local jurisdiction may demand as part of the application process to information related to local land use. “Collocation” means the situation when a second or subsequent wireless provider uses an existing structure to locate a second or subsequent antennae. The term includes the ground, platform, or roof installation of equipment enclosures, cabinets, or buildings, and cables, brackets, and other equipment associated with the location and operation of the antennae.
Georgia O.C.G.A. §§36-66B-1 – 36-66B-4 (2010) The Advanced Broadband Collocation Act establishes streamlined procedures for local review of applications to collocate on existing wireless facilities, or to modify such facilities, while preserving local authority over wireless facility siting. The streamlined review process applies to all applications for modification and collocation that do not exceed the size requirement set in the Act. Local governing authorities retain the right to require certification that the wireless facility will not interfere with emergency communications, but may not evaluate the technical, business or service characteristics of the collocation or modification and may not require demonstration of need for the wireless facilities.
HAW. REV. STAT. §205-4.5 (2007) Amended state land use regulations to allow for the siting of wireless telecommunications facilities on agricultural lands.
Nevada Revised Statutes § 707.575 (2003) Authorizes the approval of wireless facility siting and collocation through administrative approval, and further restricts the criteria local land use authorities may use to deny an application—for example, a locality cannot consider the health impacts of RF. A “Facility for personal wireless service” includes any building, structure, antenna and other equipment used to provide personal wireless service. The term includes a telecommunications tower.
N.C. GEN. STAT. § 160A-400.53 (2007) Generally works to clarify the wireless facility siting process within state and local jurisdictions as well as to bring the law up to current federal standards. Additionally, the Act creates a streamlined process for collocations, which will “be reviewed for conformance with applicable site plan and building permit requirements but shall not otherwise be subject to zoning requirements, including design or placement requirements, or public hearing review.”
TENN. CODE ANN. § 13-24-305 (2005) While affirming local authorities’ right to regulate wireless facility siting generally, the Act clarifies that they may not regulate the collocations on existing infrastructure so long as the collocation does not result in an expansion of the tower size that exceeds the locality’s height limitations. The Act also prevents local jurisdictions from requiring an applicant to provide any type of justification for radio frequency need.
N.J. Stat. 40:55D-46.2 (2012) Applications for collocation are exempt from site plan review. Collocation means to place or install wireless communications equipment on wireless communications support structures, including a monopole, self-supporting lattice tower, guyed tower, water tower, utility pole, or building. View PCIA’s Fact Sheet on the New Jersey Legislation.
Amendments to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act exempt applications for collocations from special land use or any other approval if the application meets certain requirements. The amendments also streamline special use permit application process when it is required by capping fees at $1000 or the actual costs to the local government, whichever is less, setting a 14-day paperwork completion shot clock, and allowing local governments to exempt all wireless communications equipment from such approval altogether. Applications for collocation that do not qualify for exemption must be approved or denied within 60 days and approval may be conditioned only on the grounds that the equipment meet local, federal and state regulatory requirements prior to operation. Applications for special use permits for all other wireless communications equipment or support structures must approved or denied within 90 days. Collocation means that wireless communications equipment will be collocated on any structure that is designed to or capable of supporting wireless communications equipment, or in an existing equipment compound. View WIA’s Fact Sheet on the Michigan Legislation.
Please contact WIA with any questions on how your state can begin the process of enacting state wireless facilities legislation.