Keep local control of cell towers
A bill taking away the ability of the city of Benicia–and all California cities– to regulate and approve the placement of cell phone antennas and related equipment is on a fast track towards approval in Sacramento.
Senate Bill 649 would remove the power of cities to control where the equipment goes, and how much telecoms should pay for the use of public property like street lights and utility poles.
Verizon and AT&T are arguing that this is a way to streamline the approval process and improve coverage, but I don’t believe the city of Benicia has ever delayed, much less turned down, a request to install cell phone equipment.
Existing rules already give telecoms access to phone poles and utility posts as a way to expand coverage. Health concerns about cell phone towers are governed by federal rules.
This bill has already passed the State Senate, and last week was approved by the Assembly’s Local Government Committee. Our Assemblyman, Tim Grayson, is a member of that committee and voted yes.
It is curious as to why Grayson, a former mayor of Concord, would vote in favor of this bill against the expressed wishes of the more than 400 cities that compose the League of California Cities.
If you support the ability of cities to control where cell equipment is placed, let our elected officials know you oppose SB 649.
Assemblyman Grayson can be reached at 916-319-2014, and Sen. Bill Dodd can be reached at 916-651-4003.
Benicia vice mayor