ShareThis Page
Hampton/Shaler

Hampton Council opposes bill that favors wireless providers

| Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, 4:09 p.m.
Hampton Council opposes a bill that will allow wireless structures to be built while ignoring local regulations.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Hampton Council opposes a bill that will allow wireless structures to be built while ignoring local regulations.

Hampton Township Council voted to oppose House Bill 1620 that would allow wireless providers the ability to install wireless structures without having to adhere to local regulations.

The Wireless Infrastructure Deployment bill “removes the municipalities ability to collect funds pertaining to wireless cell phone service incorporated into the cable franchise fees, but also allows wireless infrastructure towers on private residential properties within the utility right-of-way without the property owners' consent and without township approval,” according to the township statement.

For example, a company like Verizon would be able to place a cell tower anywhere they want, said Christopher Lochner, township municipal manager.

Municipalities and communities usually have zoning laws or government regulations that manage this type of activity.

“You could lose your land-use control. You could have a zoning ordinance that they can supersede,” said Lochner.

Martin Orban, township land use administrator, said the bill would allow wireless corporations to “put it anywhere without any authority from a municipality.”

Aside from the ground, Orban said a wireless structure could be placed on a telephone pole or perhaps a home.

“They don't need a property owner's permission either,” said Lochner.

Vince Tucceri, legal counsel for the township, suggested perhaps these wireless corporations are behind the bill because they don't want to have to adhere to the many different zoning laws and regulations at each municipality they enter.

House Bill 1620 on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives website, called the Wireless Small Cell Broadband Act, was presented by Reps. Nick Miccarelli and Frank Farry in June 2017 explaining there's a growing demand for wireless communication services, including high-speed broadband in rural Pennsylvania.

“However, because siting decisions are made on a municipal level in Pennsylvania, the wireless industry is faced with varying and inconsistent fees and siting procedures that hamper its ability to deploy this critical wireless infrastructure,” per a memorandum by Farry and Miccarelli.

The representatives said their legislature provides that local government would still have some authority over zoning and land use, but certain fees, permitting requirements and general policies would be limited, among other things.

The Hampton council members unanimously agreed to sign the resolution noting their opposition at the Jan. 24 regular meeting.

Lochner said the signed resolution will be sent to the Pennsylvania League of Municipalities with other communities, which will be directed to the appropriate Pennsylvania legislation.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me