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Cities exercise their rights

Many municipalities are updating their wireless communication facility ordinances to exercise their rights under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Such ordinances control not just aesthetics, but demand verifiable proof from wireless carriers that new facilities are required, and control where they are placed.

North Merrick Community Association, Merrick, NY

Merrick, NY, is planning a new code that "attempts to reach the following objectives:

1.      It will make it illegal to install a cell tower within 1500 feet from a residence.  
2.      Cell companies must prove that there is a need for a new tower. 
3.      Cell companies must prove that there are no better sites available.  
4.      Cell companies will be required to notify all residents within 1500 feet of the proposed site. 

At the Town Board meeting, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said that the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 limited the town’s ability to regulate where cell equipment can be placed. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 also restricts governments from citing health concerns to deny siting of wireless infrastructure – although adverse health effects, including cancer, have been linked to wireless equipment. However, according to Mr. Denenberg, the law does permit the town’s zoning board to consider certain issues such as necessity, aesthetics, diminution of property value and distance from schools.

Aliso Viejo, CA

See the City of Aliso Viejo's Zoning Code at Chapter 15.42 outlines specific goals and objectives for the city. They have a "Cumulative Effects" section #13 including the # of watts per installation and the # of total watts for all installations at a site plus the power rating for all existing and proposed backup equipment. They also have a clause for the city to hire and independent consultant to check on an installation at the expense of the wireless facility.

An associated article notes that concerned residents are not against wireless, they are advocating for the responsible placement of cell towers.

Duxbury, VT

1.3 Authority
Under authority granted in 24 V.S.A. § 2291(19) and 24 V.S.A. Chapter 59, the Selectboard of the Town of Duxbury hereby adopts the following civil ordinance concerning wireless telecommunications facilities. Under this Ordinance, the Duxbury Selectboard is authorized to review, approve, conditionally approve, and deny applications for wireless  telecommunications facilities, including sketch, preliminary and final plans, decommissioning or dismantling, and installation. Pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4407, the Selectboard is authorized to hire qualified persons to conduct an independent technical review of applications and to require the applicant to pay for all reasonable costs thereof. Additional costs, at the applicant's expense, may include the Selectboard hiring a facilitator to assist the Selectboard in coordinating all the information necessary for review of the application.

Hempstead, NY

Newsday reported that the new Hempstead measure blocks out huge swaths of the suburban landscape to wireless infrastructure by prohibiting new ones closer than 1,500 feet from homes, schools, day care centers and houses of worship. Newsday said that the 29-page ordinance specifies that towers must have rust-preventive paint and signs warning of radio frequency radiation. It also requires cell phone tower applicants to pay the town up to $17,000 for consultants to review their paperwork, Newsday reported.

Olive, NY

Minutes of a public hearing of the Town Board of the Town of Olive held Tuesday, June 6, 2000, 7:30 pm at the Town Meeting Hall in Shokan, NY. The purpose of the public hearing as read in the legal notice was to hear all in favor of or those opposed to proposed Local Law #3 of 2000 A Local Law Regulating the Siting of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities.

Oradell, NJ

The Oradell Council is considering hiring an independent consultant to help draft an ordinance governing the placement of a cell tower within the borough. The consultant, officials said, will also guide the council through the process of working with cellular companies to meet their needs and protect the borough's interests.

Companies are entitled to try to remedy significant gaps in coverage, but municipalities can use their local laws to prioritize locations for wireless facilities. A municipality’s ordinance could say, for example, that a wireless company can provide a facility in a residential neighborhood only if it can prove that no other sites in an industrial or commercial zone would work, Comi said.

Escondido, CA

A telecommunications company is withdrawing plans to build a cell phone tower and microwave array on the roof of a private school in Oceanside.

Agoura Hills, CA

Agoura Hills City Council members will hire an independent consultant to determine whether the public right-of-way on Thousand Oaks Boulevard will make a better location for the proposed cell antenna that was planned for Lindero Canyon Middle School.

Wading River, NY

Alan Hurley of Overlook Drive in Wading River asked the board to hire an independent consultant to draft regulations governing the siting and construction of cell towers in the town. "Lack of cell service never justifies putting cell towers in residential neighborhoods," Hurley said. There are currently four pending cell tower applications for Wading River alone, he said. "The town would greatly benefit from independent counsel on this issue."

Avon Lake, OH

From a review by an independent consultant: "Based on the material we have been provided and reviewed, the applicant has not justified the need for the proposed tower at the proposed site and at the height requested.  Alternatives to the proposed monopole may exist in terms of height and location, however, without substantial additional information we cannot speak to the feasibility of those alternatives.