Senate Bill 649, authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) relating to “small cell” siting, would strip public input, limit full discretionary review, and remove the ability for counties to negotiate leases for the installation of “small cell” technology on public property.
Through SB 649, counties will be required to allow these not-so-small structures on public property both in and outside the public right-of-way. Furthermore, SB 649 will prohibit cities and counties from charging market rate for lease of public property, and instead, establishes a formula that will set rental rates at an arbitrarily low amount. SB 649 does not require installation of 5G technology, nor require the wireless industry to build their networks in these communities, and expressly prohibits a county from negotiating increased broadband services as a condition of a “small cell” permit. SB 649 does not create jobs, but instead erodes local input on community aesthetics and devalues taxpayer- invested public property.
SB 649 passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on a 6-2 vote on June 28, 2017, and will next be heard in the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee. RCRC, along with its local government partners and other organizations, encourage continued opposition to this legislation.