Federal Communications Commission Announces Action Plan to Streamline Siting of Cell Towers. (Advocacy in Action)
Otero, Juan, Nation's Cities Weekly
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael K. Powell recently announced an action plan to streamline the siting of cell towers while ensuring that they do not harm historic properties or the environment.
The plan outlines the FCC's strategy for tackling various environmental and historic preservation issues regarding tower sitings and pledges to improve the agency's communication with Indian tribes, industry and other federal agencies. It also promises "vigorous enforcement" of its rules governing tower sitings. The initiative comes as the FCC has come under increasing pressure from industry, environmentalists and members of Congress to review its tower-siting rules.
For cities and towns, the issue of cell tower siting has long been an issue of great concern.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act effectively preempted traditional state and local zoning and land use authority with regard to tower placement.
NLC has called upon Congress numerous times to restore the ability of local governments to effectively balance the needs of telecommunications providers and the zoning needs of their citizens.
Powell's streamlined plan could result in immense local conflict depending on its details.
"We want the FCC to take a balanced approach to this issue. We believe that the FCC and Congress must move to examine the needs of the cities as well as the overall demand for new technologies if we are to have a sensible, balanced approach to land use across the nation," said NLC Information Technology and Communications Committee Chair Vicki Barnett, council member from Farmington Hills, Mich. …