LE-17. Wireless Tower and Antenna Siting (AH)
Issue: Demand for wireless communication service has increased requests by private and public sector providers to site additional towers, antennas, and other facilities in cities. Local zoning authority and police power to manage and coordinate the siting of these facilities continue to be necessary and appropriate to the exercise of local land use management and police powers.
Local management needs vary and are site specific, underscoring the necessity for the exercise of such local authority, particularly as the Federal Communications Commission reviews the comments and reply comments to the Notice of Inquiry regarding questions 1 related to the details of how such authority is conducted at the local level.
Similarly, the proliferation of wireless technology leads to demands to both speed up and relax standards to site wireless tower and antenna facilities even though failing to coordinate placement of such equipment can interfere with vital public safety communications and local site specific land use concerns.
While state law regarding local rights-of-way management (Minn. Stat. § 237.162.163) does not apply to siting such wireless facilities in public rights-of-way, the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 preserves and provides for the exercise of state and local authority over zoning and land-use decisions for wireless service facilities.
Response: Cities must continue to exercise full authority to consider public health, safety, and welfare concerns, including issues of aesthetic and property value in responding to siting and related requests to site, upgrade or alter such wireless facilities. The Legislature should maintain laws that recognize and uphold city authority to manage the siting of wireless facilities through local zoning and regulation and provider agreements, including fair compensation.