An Assembly bill that has been a source of concern for cities, counties and municipalities across the State of California will not move forward this legislative session due to time constraints.
City Manager John Schaefer sent a letter to State Assembly Members Mike Gatto and Ed Chau and State Senator Carol Liu last week expressing the City of San Marino’s opposition to AB 2788, a California State Assembly bill that – if enacted as amended – “would permit the use of a small cell…without a city or county permit or aesthetic review in all zoning districts, subject only to a building permit or administrative permit…”
In his letter, Schaefer referred to “a dispute with the Gas Company over the assertion that they have the right to add poles in the public right of way for their new data collection units.”
He added, “Legislation such as AB 2788, which would take away additional local control, will only exacerbate [the dispute with the Gas Company] by allowing a plethora of cellular providers to add additional cell sites in our public right of way.”
AB 2788, which was introduced by Assembly Member Gatto (D-Silver Lake), originally was intended to keep in effect emergency regulations from the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources related to underground gas storage projects.
The Assembly approved that version of the bill without any opposition on May 27.
Since that time, the bill has undergone significant amendments in the Senate. Now written to include the regulation of wireless telecommunications, the bill has caused an uproar among cities, counties and other local municipalities.
Eric Menjivar, a spokesperson for Assembly Member Gatto, said Gatto’s office has met with a representative for the League of California Cities, “an association of California city officials who work together to…influence policy decisions that affect cities.”
“We’re going to hear them out,” he said, adding that the Assembly Member’s hope is to arrive at a middle ground. He also noted that many more amendments are expected before the bill leaves the legislature.
As more people transition from landlines to cell service, Menjivar said the bill’s purpose is to “help create the new infrastructure to establish 5G service in the state.”
The bill may return sometime next year. The exact language of bill can be found at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.