Friday, 28 May 2010 00:00
Village of Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy made the following statement to answer questions and concerns on the cell tower issue:
Over the course of the last several months, the village has received numerous requests and applications for the siting of telecommunications facilities and antenna systems. Some of the requests involve private property, and others involve village-owned land and the right-of-ways of certain streets.
In an effort to provide our residents with timely information about these requests and promote productive discussion about this important issue, the Village advertised and held a public meeting in March and a public hearing on May 10 regarding a modification of the village’s Wireless Telecommunications Law (WTF Law) earlier this month. This letter is an additional attempt to be open and informative about the issues.
The applications currently filed with the village, and those that may be filed based on the requests submitted to the village, must be reviewed by the village under both federal and local laws. On February 8, 1996, the United States Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act was adopted as a means to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies. While the Act provides a local municipality with the ability to regulate the construction and placement of such facilities, no such regulation may prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, the ability of any entity to provide telecommunication services. The Act also provides the village with authority to manage its public right-of-ways, but such management must be done on a neutral and nondiscriminatory basis.
In 2001, the village adopted chapter 133 of our Code (the “Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Siting Law for the Incorporated Village of Sea Cliff”) to address these issues in connection with the provision of telecommunications facilities in the Village. Chapter 133 reflects the fact that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 amended the Communications Act of 1934 and granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exclusive jurisdiction over:
A. The regulation of the environmental effects of “radio frequency” (RF) emissions from telecommunications facilities; and
B. The regulation of radio signal interference among users of the RF spectrum.
The village’s regulation of wireless telecommunications facilities in the village cannot have the effect of prohibiting any person or entity from providing wireless telecommunications services or violating the FCC’s exclusive jurisdiction.
The purpose of Sea Cliff’s WTF Law is to establish predictable and balanced regulations for the siting and screening of wireless telecommunication facilities in order to accommodate the growth of such systems within the village. It is intended to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of wireless telecommunications facilities in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, while at the same time not unreasonably interfering with the development of the competitive telecommunications marketplace in the village. Specifically, our Code is intended to:
1. Establish a fair and efficient process for the review and approval of applications;
2. Regulate the location of the wireless telecommunications facilities in the village;
3. Protect residential areas and land uses from potential adverse impacts of wireless telecommunications facilities;
4. Minimize negative and adverse visual impacts of wireless telecommunications facilities through careful design, siting, landscaping, and innovative camouflaging techniques in order to protect the natural features and aesthetic character of the village;
5. Promote and encourage shared use/collocation of freestanding towers and antenna support structures as a primary option rather than construction of additional single-use towers;
6. Promote and encourage wherever possible, the placement of a wireless telecommunications facilities in such a manner as to cause minimal disruption to the land, property, buildings and other facilities adjacent to, surrounding and in generally the same area as the requested location of such a wireless telecommunications facility and to minimize adverse aesthetic impacts to the community;
7. Promote and encourage utilization of technological designs that will either eliminate or reduce the need for erection of new tower structures to support antennas and telecommunications facilities;
8. Avoid potential damage to property caused by wireless telecommunications facilities by ensuring such structures are soundly and carefully designed, constructed, modified, maintained, and removed when no longer used or determined to be structurally unsound;
9. Ensure that wireless telecommunications facilities are compatible with surrounding land uses; and
10. Assure an integrally comprehensive review of environmental impacts of wireless facilities.
With the current interest of several wireless companies in establishing new antennae structures in portions of the Village, the Board and I are charged with acting in the best interests of the Village as a whole. Let’s face it, the feedback is evident that nobody wants these structures near their home, but, based on federal law, the Village cannot just say “no”. The Village Code sets priorities about where wireless facilities should go with an emphasis on co-location (a tower, of sorts, that can accommodate multiple carriers) and a secondary importance of utilizing Village owned property. By paying attention to these two top priorities, the Board will be acting in the interest of the Village and in furtherance of existing laws, both federal and local, in a manner that can minimize the potential proliferation of these facilities all over the Village.
I want our residents to be assured that the Board of Trustees and I are examining these applications and requests with a keen eye. We advertised and held meetings in March and May in order to keep the public apprised of these issues, and we will continue to do so. Our sole motive is to act in the best interest of the Village as a whole.