FCC to Local Government: Make Up Your Mind

State officials hate it, cell companies love it

Everyone complains about dropped cell calls but nobody wants a shiny new tower in their back yard. Now local officials will have even less time to settle the debate.

New FCC regulations will limit the amount of time cities and county governments have to decide on applications for new cell towers to 150 days. Requests to add services to existing towers must be done in 90 days, according to the Press Enterprise.

Wireless advocates say it takes local governments too long to decide on upgrade applications and applauded the new regulations. Demand for new and improved services is expected to greatly increase and under the old rules, it could take up to a year for approval. If a state or local government does not act within the new time frame a wireless providers could sue.

Officials expressed concern over the change saying cell tower land use issues are some of the most controversial decisions they make. The applications can be complex and time is needed to hold public hearings to address community concerns.

"It could force local officials to put more restrictions -- or what some might say are unreasonable restrictions -- because you are under such a tight time frame," Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione said in the Press Enterprise. "I know the cellular industry pushed this. They have to be careful what they ask for."

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