A lawsuit brought by local governments across the country hit a snag last week when a federal appeals court rejected a challenge to a court ruling limiting the review period for telecommunications companies looking to build cell towers and other wireless equipment.
If the ruling stands, the FCC could put into place guidelines that would force governments to make a ruling on right-of-way telecommunications equipment within 90 days for equipment co-located on existing infrastructure. For new cell towers and other stand-alone equipment jurisdictions would have 150 days to make a ruling.
By comparison, a took 17 months from the application date until the final decision was made, according to county records. An AT & T representative that it is typical for the process to take around 18 months in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles County was one of the plaintiffs in the earlier stages of the lawsuit and the County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to file an appeal to the ruling or not, according to Edel Vizcarra of County Supervisor Michael Antonovich's office.
Antonovich called the ruling a "power grab" in a press release and wrote that it "limits the public's ability to protect the character of their community by rushing through projects before they are studied and mitigated." He wrote that an appeal to the Supreme Court is a possibility.
Impact on Altadena
The rules could have a big impact, and depending on one's perspective could be either very good or bad for Altadena. On the one hand, a 150 day limit in the recent Loma Alta case would have meant that AT & T would now likely be a year closer to an alternate tower proposal, a good thing for proponents of the last proposal.
On the other hand, hurrying the process could also mean that a proposal gets passed without local residents knowing about it: several opponents in the Loma Alta case said they were not even aware of the proposal when the Town Council discussed in April of 2010, almost three months after the project was introduced.
So what do you think readers? Is it always best to have local control, or does the process take so long to complete that having new federal guidelines would be helpful? Let us know what you think in the comments section.