State Legislature Mulls Bill to Regulate Small Cells

CT general assembly logoLocal residents in New Haven, CT are voicing concern regarding the supposed safety and health risks posed by the deployment of small cells in their community, and it seems they’ve found a listener in the form of their state legislature. Connecticut State Sen. Gayle Slossberg and three co-sponsors have introduced a bill that aims to address these concerns regarding the potential safety and health risks of small cell antennas, reports the West Haven Patch. Senate Bill 536 also aims to quell residents’ worries about nearby property values.

“The West Haven residents raised a number of concerns, but have consistently been denied a voice in the process,” State Sen. Gayle Slossberg, who testified in support of the measure earlier this week, said in a press release. “This new law puts the people of Connecticut on equal footing with telecommunications companies when making decisions that will impact the communities where people live and work.”

If passed, SB 536 would require the Connecticut Siting Council to develop a statewide plan for siting small cell canister antennas and distributed antenna systems in public rights-of-way. The process would include input from officials and community leaders of the municipality where the infrastructure would be located. Following passage, a moratorium would be placed on all petitions related to the issue until the statewide plan and process are approved and implemented.  

Slossberg’s bill has received support from West Haven Mayor Edward O’Brien, who also testified in support of the bill. O’Brien voiced his concern that municipalities and residents are not consulted during the small cell zoning process, a situation he believes this bill will cure.

“The FCC estimates that there will be hundreds of thousands of small cell facilities constructed over the next several years. The legislature needs to step in and clarify the standards before any more of these are constructed,” O’Brien said in his submitted testimony.

State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-14) introduced the bill, with co-sponsors Reps. Michael DiMassa, Michael A.DiMassa (D-116), Charles Ferraro (R-117) and Sen. Gary Winfield (D-10). The 2017 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly convened January 4, and adjourns June 7.  

February 9, 2017

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