I’ve received a copy of Assembly Member Holden’s Fact Sheet on AB 162, which has been christened the “Broadband Expansion Act.” I’ve rechristened it the “Wireless Industry Gift and Public Exclusion Act of 2013.”
The bill would not allow municipalities to evaluate whether a wireless provider needs to add capacity to existing facilities. It would nullify Glendale’s requirement in these cases that applicants must describe “how the coverage gap will be filled by the proposed installation.” (Section 12.08.037 G.7.)
Assembly Bill 162 is one of the worst bills that would essentially kill public input into wireless siting process for collocations in California. It would speed up the process to the point where the public would be denied any effective opportunity to have any meaningful review, much less input, on proposed wireless collocations (which seem to be the bulk of wireless projects in California now).
The authority of a local government in California to place the burden of proof on a wireless carrier to demonstrate the existence of a significant gap in its coverage has been established under Federal law since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ MetroPCS v. City and County of San Francisco decision in 2005. There is no reason for the State of California to act to limit this authority.
Cell Phone Carriers & the FCC, in Microwave News, alleges that the federal government is not enforcing its own safety standards for radiofrequency exposure. State resources aren’t devoted to such enforcement, so if cities cannot evaluate whether an addition to a cell site causes it to exceed radiation limits, what governing entity will?
This week Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz introduced a resolution opposing AB 162 because “authority over land use planning and zoning laws is the most fundamental of local issues and the City must maintain the ability to make decisions that make sense for local communities and neighborhoods.”
Burbank City Council member Emily Gabel Luddy brought up similar concerns at that city’s April 2 regular council meeting.
Those in Glendale, Pasadena, and throughout California concerned about preserving the small amount of discretion municipalities now have over wireless facility citing should contact their municipal representatives and Assembly representatives immediately with concerns about AB 162.