PCIA and state wireless groups team up to advance advocacy projects in nine states
April 1, 2008 - As advocates for the wireless industry, state wireless associations and PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association, have made a significant impact across the country, according to Nancy Chrisman of PCIA.
Chrisman recently detailed the advocacy projects in nine states that will make a significant difference in tower siting.
One example noted was the efforts of the Alabama Wireless Association, PCIA, and a broad coalition of carriers, to have pro-siting legislation enacted in Alabama.
Various municipal groups oppose the effort on grounds that such legislation unfairly removes local authority from municipalities to regulate wireless facilities within their jurisdiction, so the industry coalition is revising the bill to make clear that municipalities retain such rights and distills the legislation to its essential elements of collocation by right, limitations on fees, and limited RF review.
The revised legislation will be submitted to the Alabama Legislature in late March, after it returns from spring recess, and will include a commitment to participate in an off-session study committee to review contentious points after the session concludes in summer 2008.
Andy Rotenstreich, President of the AWA, has coordinated and spearheaded this effort.
California: Pasadena, Tower zoning ordinance and opposition
The City of Pasadena is considering a revision to their ordinance. The California State Wireless Association and PCIA are working together to keep abreast of this initiative and the proposed revisions.
Florida: New Pt. Richey, Tower zoning ordinance amendment
Amendment would add government sites and commercial sites to the possible places to site towers. Currently towers can only be sited in areas zoned "Light Industrial". PCIA, in conjunction with the Florida Wireless Association, offered letter of support to the New Pt. Richey Council for their proposed adoptions.
Florida: Manatee County, Consideration of tower zoning ordinance regarding real property
Manatee County introducing agenda item to: "Authorize publication of Notice of Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance 08-31providing standards and procedures for the disposition of real property for communications towers and communications equipment." PCIA is in contact with the County and has forwarded our model ordinance at their request. PCIA will be involved in all future activities with the ordinance.
Indiana: Michigan City, New tower zoning ordinance
Michigan City is switching to a SmartCode zoning plan and will be introducing a new tower siting ordinance. PCIA has offered our model ordinance for the City to consider adopting.
Maryland: Anti siting legislation
Since early February, the MD/DC Wireless Association, PCIA, and a coalition of carriers has been battling legislation in Maryland that would prohibit the siting of wireless facilities at Baltimore County schools. David Yacoub, President of MDDCWA, and Mike Saperstein with PCIA have both testified extensively before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and the Baltimore County Senate Delegation, explaining that the bill improperly usurps local zoning power.
The testimonies also highlighted the public safety issues involved with providing inadequate residential wireless service (notably E-911)-a potential problem if school sites cannot be used in any circumstance. At press time the bill is still in the Maryland Senate's Baltimore County delegation and its future is uncertain. For the latest information on the bill, click here .
New York: Westport, Consideration of tower ordinance where none exists
The Town of Westport is set to begin consideration of wireless ordinance proposals. The New York State Wireless Association and PCIA are offering PCIA's model ordinance to assist the town in developing their ordinance.
South Carolina: Wireless pro-siting legislation
Capitalizing on the recent legislative success in North Carolina, the Carolinas Wireless Association and PCIA are working with a broad coalition of carriers to advocate for similar legislation in South Carolina, which would provides for streamlined processing of local land use applications for wireless facilities.
HB 3302 also requires reasonable fees and review timelines, and limits the ability of municipal consultants to delay the process or charge unreasonable fees. PCIA is scheduled to testify before the SC House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on March 25,2008 to explain why the legislation is good public policy, providing a level playing field across SC jurisdictions and encouraging robust wireless deployment. A copy of the bill is available here.
South Carolina: Aiken County rejects municipal consultant
After extensive outreach by the Carolinas Wireless Association and PCIA, Aiken County decided against engaging the services of the a municipal consultant known for encouraging municipalities to adopt wireless facilities ordinances that impose burdensome requirements and exorbitant fees on the applicant.
Tennessee: Anti siting legislation
In early February, Hunter Stuart and Nathan Ridley of the Tennessee Wireless Association, along with PCIA's Jackie McCarthy, actively advocated against two bills that would threaten wireless site development.
House Bill 2474 and Senate Bill 3370 required vague and burdensome design and review requirements at the local zoning level, and violated existing Tennessee state legislation providing for streamlined regulation of many wireless site types. TWA and PCIA explained to the respective sponsors why both bills are inappropriate for the review of wireless facilities applications.
As a result, both bills were deferred indefinitely. A copy of the House bill can be found here. A copy of the Senate bill is also available here.
Washington: State of the wireless infrastructure industry report
At the request of carriers' government affairs representatives, PCIA's Jackie McCarthy testified before the Washington House Technology, Energy and Communications Committee on the current state of wireless infrastructure technology, and on the trends of the industry. McCarthy emphasized that a full complement of site types (towers, collocations, and alternative technologies like DAS) is needed to deploy wireless infrastructure in WA, and throughout the nation and confirmed that existing Washington law requiring fair access to poles in public rights of way are effective.
McCarthy's presentation also included a discussion of why additional facilities are needed to improve wireless capacity and to meet the upcoming demands of new spectrum allocations. To view the committee hearing in its entirety, click here. McCarthy's testimony begins at the 28:41 mark.
The momentum continues to grow within the national SWAP program. Currently there are 20 active associations that cover 31 states. There are six more states in formation, with two, Virginia and Indiana, set to launch this year. To learn more about SWAP, contact PCIA's Director of SWAP & Membership, Nancy Chrisman.