FCC Denies NLC Request to Stay Small Cells Siting Order

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The FCC Tuesday denied a motion to stay its September order to ease siting of small cells pending judicial review. The National League of Cities and a group of local governments and associations, said the Commission overreached when it voted to impose shot clocks for siting applications and cap application fees for municipalities and other localities concerning wireless infrastructure siting in public rights-of-way.

When evaluating a stay request, the Commission considers whether the applicant’s arguments are likely to succeed, whether the party would be “irreparably injured” without a stay, and where the public interest lies. 

The FCC concluded the motion failed to satisfy these factors. As for the parties’ arguments that easing small siting rules would hurt property values and create traffic hazards, the agency said even the NLC conceded the order, “does not compel any locality to authorize any particular facility,” states the decision signed by Donald Stockdale, Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

The agency said it followed Congress’ lead by articulating, “specific standards for resolving concrete disputes over whether states’ or localities’ fees” are consistent with its rules. Most of the order is slated to become effective January 14, 2019. The order acknowledged that “some localities will require some time to establish and publish aesthetics standards,” and therefore the aesthetics standards will not take effect until 180 days after Federal Register publication.

For localities that choose to impose aesthetic standards on small cell deployment, they must be “(1) reasonable, (2) no more burdensome than those applied to other types of infrastructure deployments, and (3) objective and published in advance,” according to the FCC.

Several localities seek judicial review of the order, Inside Towers reported. A judicial panel consolidated the petitions and assigned them to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In addition to the National League of Cities, other parties joining the stay request were: the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National Association of Regional Councils, National Association of Towns and Townships and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & AdvisorsComments? Email Us

December 12, 2018

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