Bill would speed up cell tower approval process - FOX 32 News Chicago

Bill would speed up cell tower approval process

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The outcome for a bill at the state Capitol could affect how quickly cell towers are built and where they are located. The measure's sponsor hopes for a vote soon in the state House.

While demand for wireless capacity provided by cell towers is exploding with the use of smartphones and other devices, Atlanta resident Brian Cook is no fan of cell towers.
"It's like having billboards all over the place and all things considered equal, if I didn't have to have them I prefer not to have them," Cook said.

But more towers are coming. The question is how fast and where they go up.

Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) says some local governments have slowed new service with a long approval process. His legislation sets up a so-called "shot clock" -- a decision on cell tower requests in 150 days or the application gets automatic approval.

"The towers will go in more quickly. The antenna will go on more quickly on the towers and there'll be more bandwidth and greater service to the citizens of Georgia," said Parsons.

But local governments warn the bill would limit public authority in negotiating cell tower locations especially if offices are swamped by numerous applications.

"Let's say a county has 10 tower applications from one company, 10 another, and 10 another -- they don't have time to review them, the shot clock kicks in and they are all approved," said Todd Edwards of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.

Parsons says governments will still have the authority to reject tower applications. His bill won a unanimous committee vote this week and he plans to ask for a vote by the full house next week.

Parents have protested plans by metro area school systems to allow cell towers on school grounds, citing potential health hazards for students.


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