A city in California is looking at amending its wireless ordinance to require carriers to submit a master plan of proposed cell phone tower sites as part of an effort to make carriers more accountable and transparent, according to the Calabasas Patch.
The city of Calabasas, Calif., has formed a subcommittee to compile recommendations into a formal document.
In a master plan, carriers would be required to document their plans over the next two years, along with a list of existing tower locations, according to one proposal.
Harriet Steiner, partner, Best Best & Krieger LLP, who represents cities as a general counsel, told AGL Bulletin that requiring a master plan would provide greater transparency to the siting process and reduce controversy by letting residents know well in advance of the carriers’ plans.
“We plan out where the parks, water facilities, residential areas and commercial areas are going to be,” Steiner said. “Why not wireless facilities?”
Jonathan Kramer, a wireless attorney for many California communities, pointed out that community planning is a natural government function. He notes that more and more communities are beginning to master plan wireless sites just as they plan for homes, parks, schools and shopping centers.
“It is increasingly common for cities to consider this type of planning with the carriers’ input, as well as its own,” Kramer said. “Wireless planning is consistent with planning for other major elements within a community. You plan for utilities, you plan for transportation, you plan where the shopping centers go, so that you balance all the community needs and provide for these uses in a rational way that makes sense over the long term.”