Several zoning ordinances have been proposed or passed across the nation from Connecticut to California. The news is not all bad for the wireless industry.
The city council in Burbank, Calif., has passed an ordinance that allows cell towers to be sited in public right-of-ways, according to the Burbank Leader. But wireless companies will still be required to get an encroachment permit to install a tower, while meter-reading transmitters are exempted for six months from that requirement. This benefits the current plan of Southern California Gas Company to deploy five poles with meter equipment in residential neighborhoods.
City officials are still looking at requiring carriers to disclose their equipment usage, time limits on permits and increased public notice periods.
Meanwhile, in Durham, N.C., the city/county planning department is proposing to do away with a multi-department, staff-level review panel that approves developers’ site plans, in response to a 2009 state law that limits the power of unelected officials over land-use permits, according to a story in the Herald Sun.
With the review panel gone, the job of approving projects would fall to the planning director, which is making some in the populace a bit nervous. Sensitive to those emotions, officials are looking at a new ordinance that would require cell companies to obtain a special-use permit through a public hearing process.
With a population slightly less than 1,500, it is hard to believe the town of Warren, Conn., threatens to be a hotbed of cell site development anytime soon. But the town has taken the time to beef up its zoning ordinance, even though it is not legally enforceable. The Connecticut Siting Council has statewide tower siting authority. The town was emboldened by legislation passed in Connecticut last year, which gave local municipalities more say in the siting process.
The special permit process has been altered to forbid antennas or transmission equipment from being “mounted on, or in, preexisting structures less than 50 feet in height as measured at ground level” with the exception of public safety and others.