September 1, 2015 — Legislation requiring a wireless collocation or siting application to be deemed granted if certain conditions are met has been passed overwhelmingly in the California state legislature and is awaiting signature by the governor. The law is designed to speed up the state’s wireless facility application process. Assembly Bill 57, passed by a vote of 28-6 and by 66-8 by the senate and assembly, respectively, and would appear to be veto proof by Gov. Jerry Brown.
“It would be a huge win for the wireless infrastructure industry,” Bob Jystad, president and CEO, California Wireless Association, told AGL Link. “It takes what the FCC did with its 6409(a) order and applies to the 2009 shot clock order.”
The bill states that municipality must approve or disapprove an application in accordance with the time periods and procedures established by the FCC, 90 days for collocations and 150 days for new sites, or an application will be considered approved. The California law goes beyond the FCC ruling, which provided deemed approved status only for collocations, not new facilities.
“Deemed approved puts pressure on local jurisdictions to take action [to deny an application] that can be supported by its rules or to move forward with an application and take pressure off the industry to have to sue every time it is unhappy with an outcome,” Jystad said.
Granting deemed approved status keeps the wireless industry from having to take the municipality to court, which is a time-consuming, expensive route that has no guarantee of success.
“As it stands, the wireless industry cannot anticipate a positive outcome from a court challenge in the 9th circuit. It is too easy for a municipality to deny a permit for a facility and have it upheld by the court,” Jystad said.
Because the economic impact of wireless, a Senate amendment to the bill said that facilitating the deployment of wireless, “it is not a municipal affair, but is a matter of statewide concern,” which includes charter cities. The legislation, however, allows the municipality to seek judicial review of an application within 30 days of the day that was deemed granted.