Bills Gutting Local Authority to Address Siting of Wireless Towers Advance

February 12, 2018

Late last week, the House and Senate passed bills allowing wireless companies to place cell towers up to 50 feet tall within rights-of-way without local control. Additionally, for towers of greater height, the bills hamstring localities’ ability to obtain information and address citizen concerns through the public hearing process. VACo opposes any weakening of local authority for the siting of new wireless support structures.

SB 405 (McDougle) passed by a vote of 22 to 13. The following Senators voted to strip local governing bodies of their ability to act on community concerns on the siting of wireless towers –

Black, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, Dance, Dunnavant, Edwards, Hanger, Howell, Lucas, Marsden, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Ruff, Saslaw, Stanley, Sturtevant, Suetterlein and Wagner.

HB 1258 (Kilgore) passed by a vote of 56 to 41. The following Delegates voted to strip local governing bodies of their ability to act on community concerns on the siting of wireless towers –

Adams, L.R., Austin, Ayala, Bell, John J., Bell, Robert B., Bourne, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Collins, Convirs-Fowler, Cox, Delaney, Edmunds, Fariss, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Freitas, Garrett, Gilbert, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Heretick, Hugo, Hurst, Ingram, James, Jones, S.C., Kilgore, Kory, Landes, Leftwich, Marshall, McGuire, Miyares, Morefield, Mullin, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Poindexter, Ransone, Rush, Stolle, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, VanValkenburg, Ware, Watts, Wilt, Wright and Yancey.

While the bills have passed their respective chambers, they now crossover to both the House and Senate to be voted again in committee and on the floor. Please continue to contact your legislators to oppose SB 405 and HB 1258.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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