On September 27, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order, FCC 18-133 (the “Small Cell Order”), in connection with two informal rulemaking proceedings entitled Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79, and Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84. The regulations adopted in the Small Cell Order significantly curtail the local authority over wireless and wireline communication facilities reserved to State and local governments under sections 253 and 704 in the federal Telecommunications Act.
The County of Orange intends to establish reasonable, uniform and comprehensive standards and procedures for small wireless facilities deployment, construction, installation, collocation, modification, operation, relocation and removal within the County’s territorial boundaries, consistent with and to the extent permitted under federal and California state law. Such standards and procedures (the “Policies”) are intended to, and should be applied to, protect and promote public health, safety and welfare, and balance the benefits that flow from robust, advanced wireless services with the County’s local values, which include without limitation the aesthetic character of the County, its neighborhoods and community. It is also intended to reflect and promote the community interest by (1) ensuring that the balance between public and private interests is maintained; (2) protecting the County’s visual character from potential adverse impacts and/or visual blight created or exacerbated by small wireless facilities and related communications infrastructure; (3) protecting and preserving the County’s environmental resources; (4) protecting and preserving the County’s public rights-of-way and municipal infrastructure located within the County’s public rights-of-way; and (5) promoting access to high-quality, advanced wireless services for the County’s residents, businesses and visitors.
The Policies are not intended to, nor shall it be interpreted or applied to: (1) prohibit or effectively prohibit any personal wireless service provider’s ability to provide personal wireless services; (2) prohibit or effectively prohibit any entity’s ability to provide any telecommunications service, subject to any competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory rules, regulations or other legal requirements for rights-of-way management; (3) unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent personal wireless services; (4) deny any request for authorization to place, construct or modify personal wireless service facilities on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such wireless facilities comply with the FCC’s regulations concerning such emissions; (5) prohibit any collocation or modification that the County may not deny under federal or California state law; (6) impose any unreasonable, discriminatory or anticompetitive fees that exceed the reasonable cost to provide the services for which the fee is charged; or (7) otherwise authorize the County to preempt any applicable federal or California law.
Accordingly, all Small Cell Wireless Facilities Applications require a pre-scheduled appointment. County shall use reasonable efforts to offer an appointment within five working days after receipt of a written request potential applicants. The County requires all Small Cell Wireless Facilities Applications to contain all of the elements found in the “Wireless Communications Facilities Within Highways Submittal Package Preparers/Reviewers Checklist” found; as well as, all other required material for necessary permits and approvals, e.g., encroachment permits, excavation permits, construction permits, etc. Additionally, Small Cell Wireless Facilities Applications for Small Cell Wireless Facilities on County-owned infrastructure in rights-of-way require a fully executed site agreement between the County and the applicant.
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