State and Municipalities Clash Over SB 649

Despite endorsements from business and economic councils, Long Beach, Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes Estates are the latest cities expressing opposition to California’s Senate Bill 649. The bill aims to make it easier for wireless carriers to install small cell towers in the public right-of-way, but the cities and counties opposing the law are afraid new towers will be placed in areas detrimental to public safety and aesthetics. The Orange County Business Council supports the measure, reports the Press-Telegram.

A Senior Analyst at City and County of San Francisco, Omar Masry, testified against the bill, calling it “a dumpster fire.”  He said the legislation gives the option to telecom companies to build out in anyone’s front yard and, because carriers won’t share their sites, poles could pop up every several hundred feet. 

State Senator Ben Hueso authored the measure, calling it a necessity. “To enhance the existing wireless network, more capacity is needed. The deployment of small cell wireless installations can help densify and expand broadband capacity in localized and targeted areas,” he said in a press release.

The bill dictates antennas placed in the public right-of-way will be limited to six cubic feet, but support equipment may be up to 35 cubic feet in size. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled in favor of local municipalities, rejecting towers based on aesthetics in 2009, and 2016, according to the Press-Telegram.

July 11, 2017      

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