Town Officials Weigh Changes to Zoning As Rights-of-Way Bill Set to Take Effect

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Arizona recently followed several other states across the nation when it passed a law that would make it easier for wireless carriers to install equipment within public rights-of-way. The town of Paradise Valley is now looking for ways to retain local control over the aesthetics of new wireless equipment prior to the law taking effect on August 8, reports the Paradise Valley Independent.

The town hosted a “Community Conversation” last week that discussed the state law and options the town has to retain local control over the installation of wireless equipment. At the crux of the conversation is the Personal Wireless Service Facilities chapter of the municipal zoning code.

The Planning Commission and Town Council, both of whom hosted the recent meeting, are considering inserting the following line into the chapter: “objective design standards and reasonable stealth and concealment requirements” will be required for new cell service structures and apparatuses.  

But that language and that of HB 2365, the new state law slated to take effect on August 8, might lead to disputed legal interpretations, said Paradise Valley Town Attorney Andrew Miller.

“The real push is when we sit down with these cell providers and ask them to build 240 foot cacti because that is what has been in our town and there doesn’t seem to be any problems,” Miller told the Paradise Valley Independent. “They could come back and say that is not reasonable.”

The town already has regulations for the installation of small cell solutions, which it passed in 2011. In light of the recently passed bill, however, the town wishes to add language to its zoning code to address concerns that might arise due to the new bill.  

May 23, 2017                     

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