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Woodstock Leaders Closely Monitor Cell Tower Bill

A bill gathering steam in the Georgia General Assembly that would shorten the time local governments can consider cell tower applications is being monitored by local leaders.

While they have no formal plans to announce opposition to a bill that would shorten the time local cities and counties can review cell tower applications, local leaders are keeping a close eye on House Bill 176.

The legislation would give local governments a 150-day window to consider approving or rejecting a cell tower application.

If the application hasn't been decided on within the 150 days, the tower would automatically be approved. 

The bill, formally titled the Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act, last week was approved by the Georgia House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, chaired by the bill's chief sponsor East Cobb Republican State Representative Don Parsons.

Parsons recently told East Cobb Patch that the 150-day time frame is a lot more time than other Southern states currently allow and the towers would accommodate not only cell phones, but also devices that require bandwidth such as tablets.

Tell us: should the legislature approve H.B. 176?

Woodstock City Manager Jeff Moon said the Georgia Municipal Association is already on record opposing the bill.

"We don’t normally discuss resolutions on bills that GMA has already taken a position on," he said. 

Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said the City Council as a whole hasn't discuss the legislation. 

"Anytime you try to take the rights away from municipalities...through zoning and governing, it's not a good thing," he added, noting he supports GMA's opposition to the legislation.

County Manager Jerry Cooper said the county is "monitoring" the bill closely. He noted he's reviewed the bill and added the Association County Commissioners of Georgia "will be recommending an amendment to address concerns with the bill."  

ACCG is also on record opposing the bill. 

Other cities in the region are publicly opposing the legislation. The Milton City Council last week approved a resolution opposing the bill and the city of Alpharetta is expected to approve a similar resolution. 

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David Dyer February 26, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Apparently some of our Legislators haven't been told that the FCC instituted wireless application timelines in 2010, to wit: JANUARY 12, 2010 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued an administrative ruling setting deadlines for state and local zoning agencies to act upon applications for siting of wireless communications facilities. The ruling sets the following "shot clock" periods: (1) 90 days for a collocation application (one which adds wireless facilities to a pole or structure where wireless facilities already exist) and (2) 150 days for other applications (including new wireless facilities). Failure to provide a decision within these time frames will allow an applicant to bring legal action against the agency under federal law. So, what's the real agenda?

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