Initially, AT&T wanted water towers and power lines to be included in the usual small cell antenna package of street lamps, traffic lights and poles. However, during the state’s recent legislative session, according to Cleveland.com, the wireless giant agreed not to include them. Instead, the company wants to speed up the 5G network application process to a 90-day approval or denial, which would allow communities to “block the installation of new wireless antennas.”
Opponents include Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, the Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Municipal Electric Association. Jackson told Cleveland.com that the 90-day limit would prevent “cities and villages from having an adequate say on where the antennas are installed.” Additionally, the Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Municipal Electric Association are tasked with providing the language for the proposal for the session scheduled to end on Thursday, according to Cleveland.com.
Kent Scarrett, a spokesman for the Ohio Municipal League, told the news site that the time limit “would mean a municipality wouldn’t be able to conduct an environmental study or take other time-consuming measures before approving or rejecting the antenna.” He added that if the time rule is approved “local governments might challenge their constitutionality in court, claiming they violate home-rule authority.”
In a letter written to the legislation, Jackson urged for opposition to AT&T’s request, stating the measure would be “too broad and prevents local municipalities from having a say in rates, zoning, and maintenance issues as it relates to wireless infrastructure.”
Cleveland.com noted that if the measure is amended, it would “probably” be added into an existing bill.
December 7, 2016