SB 649 Approved By State Legislature But Opposed By County

UPDATE The much-debated Senate Bill 649 passed both the California Senate and Assembly, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune. The bill, authored by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), allows small cells to be placed in public rights-of-way or in any zone that includes a commercial or industrial use, and largely strips local governments’ ability to regulate the installation of these antennas.

One opponent, the Ramona Community Planning Group, intends to submit a letter against SB 649 to the county Board of Supervisors. Officials are concerned the bill gives telecoms too much authority in the placement of small cells and are worried about loss of local control and revenue.  

According to the Union-Tribune, the bill defines small cells as antennas on the structure no more than six cubic feet in volume, an individual piece of associated equipment on pole structures not exceeding nine cubic feet, and the cumulative total of associated equipment that does not exceed 21 cubic feet. The total of any ground-mounted equipment cannot exceed 35 cubic feet.

Proponents of the bill cite the establishment of a reliable and standardized process to build out infrastructure needed to serve demand for greater and faster wireless networks. The bill will also authorize a city or county to charge an annual fee of up to $250 for each small cell attachment to vertical infrastructure.

Although small cell placement is being opposed, two cell tower proposals were approved by the planning group, with no opposition. AT&T proposed constructing a 35-foot tall monopine that will be co-located with current Verizon infrastructure. The second project, also by AT&T, proposed an unmanned wireless facility that will include a 65-foot-tall monopine.

October 4, 2017     

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