A judge has issued an injunction against the Uniform Wireless Communications Infrastructure Deployment Act, which restricts localities from passing laws that discourage cell site development.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed HB331 into law on July 5, and on Aug. 23 several Missouri municipalities filed a lawsuit against the act and asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO), which was granted by the Circuit Court of Cole County until the lawsuit is decided.
The result of the lawsuit and the injunction may mean additional delays in the industry’s efforts to rapidly improve wireless services, as well as increasing costs, according to Curtis Holland, shareholder, Posinelli, and an officer of the Missouri Kansas Wireless Association.
“The court’s decision to issue the TRO enjoining HB 331 from taking effect was not unexpected, but is still disappointing,” he told AGL Bulletin. “The municipalities were at the table during the drafting of the legislation, and many changes were made to address their concerns. Their lawsuit is just another example of the obstructionist behavior — by some, not all — that the new law was meant to address.”
The law was designed to prohibit municipalities from analyzingthe cell site applicant’s business decisions, the availability of other potential locations for wireless site placement or the type of wireless infrastructure when evaluating a cell tower application. The measure outlawed requiring unnecessary environmental testing, charging extraordinary consultant fees and imposing surety requirements. Additionally, it codified the FCC’s 150-day new application, 90-day collocation shot clock.
“The industry does not expect special considerations but simply wants an equal playing field and to be treated the same as all other applicants,” Holland said. “We believe strongly that the court will ultimately uphold the new law. But in the meantime, Missouri residents, businesses and travelers to the state will continue to suffer while planned improvements to wireless network systems are further delayed.”