The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Sprint’s appeal to overturn San Diego County’s wireless ordinance. (Decision on page 4 here.) The company launched a legal battle in 2003 against the ordinance restricting wireless installations in residential areas.
Congratulations to the County of San Diego, San Diego County Counsel Tom Bunton, and municipalities and community groups around the country who have been waiting for this affirmation of local zoning rights!
Glendale Organized Against Cell Towers and Glendale city staff working on this city’s wireless ordinance have been awaiting this case’s outcome. According to San Diego County Counsel Tom Bunton, the decision was not unexpected since the U.S. Solicitor General had recommended denial, and the outcome actually narrows telecom providers claims to preemption of local ordinances for both wireless and wireline installations.
As the Ninth Circuit Court decision stands, providers will have to comply with local ordinances requiring proof they actually need an installation instead of claiming they don’t have to comply because any restriction might have the effect of prohibiting telecommunications service.