Monday, April 07, 2014

Iowa bill to expand rural broadband access would cut cities' authority over cell tower sites

A House bill designed to expand rural broadband access in Iowa "also includes language that could limit the ability of local governments to regulate the placement of cell towers, prompting opposition from some city officials who say the state is trying to usurp local control," Kourtney Liepelt reports for The Associated Press.

Current law gives local governments jurisdiction within city limits, but the House bill "does not require cellular companies to provide company and business plan information to local governments when applying for a new cell tower site," Liepelt writes. "Should municipal authorities deny a request, and a cellular company then brings the case to federal court, local authorities wouldn't have the evidence necessary to justify their denial. Another provision would mean that cellular companies could attach antennae or other devices to an existing structure, such as a utility pole or water tower. Local governments wouldn't be involved, but would have to field complaints if the structure then soars above federal height limitations or residents dislike the esthetics of the attached device." (Read more)

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