Wireless Communications Facility Updates
The City of South Lake Tahoe is proposing to amend its City Code to reasonably regulate Wireless Communication Facilities (WCFs), to the extent permitted by California and federal law, for the installation, operation, collocation, modification and removal of wireless facilities in the City.
The City held a public workshop on November 20, 2019 in order to gain feedback on how to best design and create policy around future wireless communication deployment in the City. A summary of comments, presentations and handouts can be found here.
California cities are preempted from regulating various aspects of wireless communications facility siting by both state and federal law. In particular, cities cannot prohibit or effectively prohibit wireless facilities, unreasonably discriminate against wireless service providers or regulate such facilities on the basis of radio frequency emissions to the extent those emissions comply with federal standards.
Most recently, the Federal Communications Commission issued regulations that require cities to approve some collocations at previously approved facilities and allow for alterations to existing facilities if the alteration is not considered a “substantial change” pursuant to Section 6409(a) and the FCC’s regulations at 47 C.F.R. § 1.40001. These new federal rules are not limited to traditional telecommunications towers but apply to essentially any communications facility. In addition, California adopted new legislation that further restricts the time in which cities have to review proposed installations and collocations.
Western Communities Coalition Comments To FCC
The City of South Lake Tahoe has joined a coalition of cities and other local government associations (collectively, the "Western Communities Coalition") in submitting comments opposing industry petitions to the FCC to consider further limits on local control over wireless facilities.
- What is a Small Cell?
- What is a Macro Cell (traditional cell towers)?
- Can the City of South Lake Tahoe prevent small cell facilities from being placed in the public right-of-way?
- Who governs the location of wireless facilities?
- Can the City prohibit the installation of small cells due to RF emissions or other health concerns?
- Can the City reject wireless communication facility applications and just say “no”?
- How does the City currently permit new wireless communication facilities?
- Will I be noticed of a public hearing(s) for a new wireless communication facility?
- Is there a limit to the number of cell facilities South Lake Tahoe can permit?