BB&K Attorney Matthew Schettenhelm Co-Authors Article Looking at the Pressing Issues
OCTOBER 18, 2012
Municipal Lawyer magazine
By Jay Doegey
and Matthew K. Schettenhelm
For decades, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) like the federal government generally -- has played only a limited role with respect to the placement of wireless communications facilities in America's towns, cities, and counties. This may be changing.
The FCC has pushed the bounds of its authority under the Communications Act in an effort to influence and accelerate local communities' zoning decisions. It has also released a far-reaching inquiry, asking whether it should regulate local decisions in this area more extensively. Now Congress has stepped into the area as well, mandating that local governments "shall approve" certain industry requests to replace and modify facilities on existing towers. Meanwhile, wireless service providers are reaching deeper into local communities with antennas that line local highways, streets, and neighborhoods. These facilities are sometimes unsafe; they are often unsightly; and they are frequently controversial.
This article provides an overview of some recent developments in the evolving law of wireless communications facilities. It traces the clash between federal policymakers and local zoning authorities, and highlights a case that may allow the Supreme Court to definitively resolve the proper sphere of authoriity in this important area.
to read the entire article, published in the July/August 2012 issue of Municipal Lawyer,
a bimonthly magazine offered by the International Municipal Lawyers Assocation.