Council opposes bill about communication towers
By Stephanie Johns
The Madison City Council voted unanimously to oppose House Bill 176.
Councilman Michael Naples pointed out that this bill did not make it out of committee last week but urged those present to remain vigilant.
“The legislature has at their disposal the ability to attach this to some other bill at almost any time,” he said. “We really believe that this is very, very harmful.”
If passed, the bill would negatively impact home rule by local governments as it pertains to communication towers.
He noted that the Federal Communications Act gives cities the right to install and maintain the aesthetics of communication towers.
“AT&T is trying to monopolize this business and tell us that we have no say,” he said.
Among the bill’s many negative aspects, as detailed by Naples: it would prevent local governments from considering the applicant’s need for a proposed wireless support structure, it would significantly restrict a city’s ability to impose height limits on towers, and it would restrict cities from imposing zoning on the applicants.
Naples read that the Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (MBILD) Act would “significantly restrict the reasonable regulations afforded to the city regulating telecommunication structures.”
“We would have no say where they put it, we’d have no say how high it goes, we’d have no say whether we could order them to take down the ones that they’re using, we can’t recommend, ‘Why not put it where you have this other one already?’” he said. “And, additionally, they could even restrict how much we pay them if we allow them to do this.”
He said that the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), which represents more than 500 cities, opposes this bill as well.
Naples said that the city shared details about this bill with both State 112 District Rep. Doug Holt (R) and District 25 Senator Burt Jones (R).
In other news, councilmen approved two public service appointments to the Main Street Advisory Board.
Ed Latham will serve as the Downtown Development Authority liaison while Chris McCauley will serve as the Historic Preservation Commission liaison.
Printed in the March 14, 2013 edition