March 27, 2017
The Honorable Ben Hueso California State Senate, District 40 State Capitol Building, Room 4035 Sacramento, CA 95814
VIA FAX: 916-651-4940
RE: SB 649 as Proposed to be Amended by RN 17 08941 (Hueso). Wireless and Small Cell Telecommunications Facilities Notice of Opposition
Dear Senator Hueso:
The Legislative Committee of Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers (MCCMC) recommended by consensus that MCCMC oppose SB 649 and proposed amendments related to the permitting of wireless and small cell telecommunications facilities. This proposal unnecessarily and unconstitutionally strips local authority over public property and shuts out public input and local discretion by eliminating consideration of the aesthetic and environmental impacts of “small cells.”
This proposal would prohibit local discretionary review of “small cell” wireless antennas , including equipment collocated on existing structures or located on new “poles, structures, or non-pole structures,” including those within the public right-of-way and buildings. The proposal preempts adopted local land use plans by mandating that “small cells” be allowed in all zones as a use by-right, including all residential zones.
The proposal provides a de facto exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the installation of such facilities and precludes consideration by the public of the aesthetic and environmental impacts of these facilities, all of which are of particular importance when the proposed location of facilities is within a residential zone.
The proposal preempts local authority by requiring local governments to make available sites they own for the installation of a “small cell.” While a city may place “fair and reasonable terms and conditions” on the use of city property, the proposal does not provide the city with any discretion to deny a “small cell” to be located on city property except for fire department sites. This measure gives control of public property to private telecommunications companies, while also precluding local governments from leasing or licensing publicly owned property. Under this proposal, local governments would be required to give preferential treatment to one industry that has received “most favored nation” status under state law.
The Legislative Committee of MCCMC opposes SB 649. Respectfully,
Alice Fredericks, Chair
Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers
Senator McGuire Assembly Member Levine David Jones
Nancy Hall Bennett