Court Expands Local Control Of Wireless, Phone Towers

Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Berkeley residents concerned about wireless towers in their neighborhoods got a partial victory Thursday, when a federal appellate court expanded local governments' control over the placement of the towers.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reaffirmed the rights of city and county governments to regulate the appearance and placement of wireless telecommunication towers in their municipalities.

The 2003 suit between the county of San Diego, Sprint Telephony and Pacific Bell Wireless originated after the county sought to regulate towers owned by the two companies.

The court ruled that local governments can regulate wireless towers as long as they are not creating gaps in cell phone and wireless Internet coverage.

Berkeley city officials attempted to regulate the placement of cell phone towers last year but decided against taking any action after they were told they would lose a court battle. They said they thought Thursday's ruling was a good first-step to resolving local controversies.

"It changes the landscape with respect to the standards applicable to wireless towers," said Zach Cowen, acting city attorney.

Berkeley resident Charlotte Shimura, who was an active opponent of the towers that were installed in Berkeley a year ago, said she thought the recent ruling gave Berkeley tools to question the placement of towers.

"Berkeley has bowed to telecommunications companies in the past, despite questions concerning their placement of towers," Shimura said. "This at least will give them some ability to ask questions and be able to plan where the towers go."

But the ruling does not enable local governments to prevent a tower's construction based on residents' concerns about the towers' adverse health effects.

"Ninety-eight percent of all objections to cell towers are from neighbors who are worried about health concerns and the ruling hasn't changed that," said Councilmember Gordon Wozniak. "Everyone wants to use their cell phones but no one wants the towers in their back yard."

Wozniak also said that the ruling won't solve controversy over the uneven placement of wireless towers across the city.

He noted that more wireless towers are needed in predominantly younger and lower-income areas of the city, where fewer residents have land lines.

"(Placement) is fairly strongly age and income dependent," Wozniak said. "But some residents think they should be spread evenly throughout the city."

Despite the ruling's shortcomings, Shimura said that she hopes it will enable the city to make better decisions regarding wireless towers in the future.

"I think it'll give the city of Berkeley more power to regulate where they put (towers), and what they look like," she said. "And I think that Berkeley should take up the mantle and use that power."

Tags: WIRELESS TOWERS, CITY COUNCIL


Contact Anna Widdowson at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
City
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
City
Image Sports bar to open on Telegraph Avenue
About three months ago, Larry Blake's Restaurant and Bar was boarded up aft...Read More»
City
Image City proposes major cuts to budget
Amid a grim national, state and local economic recovery forecast, the city ...Read More»
City
Image State Cinemark to provide captioning
Captioning systems will be installed in all Cinemark movie theaters in Cali...Read More»
City
Image Presentation shows downward trend in crime rates, ...
A presentation given by the Berkeley...Read More»
City
Image Former campus doctor faces charges
A former UC Berkeley health center doctor was charged Wednesday by the Alam...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space