A growing number of municipalities are adopting wireless ordinances. Some of these rules have a broad impact on both macro-cell and DAS siting. Who writes these ordinances? What are the components of an ordinance? How much does one town’s ordinance differ from another and why? What makes these ordinances harmful to the wireless industry and what can it do about?
A Richmond, Calif., wireless ordinance meant to keep cell towers away from residential areas has inadvertently allowed one to be sited across from an elementary school, according to The Oakland Tribune.
The city’s cell equipment law, which was passed last year, requires wireless providers to look first at industrial zones and public property and site in residential and commercial zones only as a last resort. Because the utility property is zoned as public property, it qualifies as a preferred site for a tower.
The city plans to revise the wireless ordinance on Dec. 7, to require that wireless equipment be at least 100 feet from homes and schools.
The opposition is a reversal of fortune for T-Mobile, which reached out to the neighborhood council in May and received its unanimous support. In September, the carrier won approval of the site after a public hearing at which there was no opposition.
New Jersey Town Sets Course for New Wireless Ordinance
Looking to sack a wireless ordinance introduced in August, the Borough of Oradell, N.J., has implemented a four-month moratorium on cell site development, according to the Oradell Record and Town News.
The Borough’s council also plans to hire an independent consultant to assist in drafting the ordinance.
The ordinance proposed in August, which was drafted by a Borough attorney, is seen as too lax by residents. It would have allowed cell towers in business zones only if borough-owned property was not an option. Wireless sites’ facilities would also have been prohibited within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood. The maximum allowable height of a tower would have been increased from 120 feet to 150 feet for towers with three or more carriers.
Proposed Public Safety Tower Spurs New Wireless Ordinance in Maine
A new wireless ordinance has been spawned in the town of Veazie, Maine, in response to a proposed state telecommunication tower, which is to be integrated into the new digital Maine public safety communication network, according to the University of Maine student newspaper in Orono, Maine.
The state targeted undeveloped land in the Veazie neighborhood to site the tower, but did not notify the town council or the residents, who have voiced concerns about aesthetics, property values and radiation.
When residents’ objections were heard by the council, it discovered that the tower had no wireless ordinance and placed a moratorium on construction until one could be drafted.
The proposed ordinance limits wireless towers to 125 feet AGL. Towers taller than 35 feet would have to be built in a specific corridor of land next to the interstate. Towers could not be built within 1,000 feet of a residential district, and there could be no more than three towers built in a 200-acre area.
The council said its intent is not to bar the state from building a tower but to “write an ordinance about towers that includes community values.”
Even with the ordinance, the town may not get its way. The state could still build the tower at the proposed site through eminent domain. It could ask the governor for an exemption from the ordinance.
The town council will vote on the wireless ordinance in December.