The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court issued an opinion addressing the issue of whether local authorities can deny wireless siting applications without providing the reason for denial in the written denial documents. The Court held that:
- §332 of the Communications Act requires localities to provide reasons when they deny applications to build cell phone towers.
- Localities are not required to provide their reasons for denying siting applications in the denial notice itself, but may state those reasons with sufficient clarity in some other written record issued essentially contemporaneously with the denial.
- Localities may comply with their obligation to give written reasons so long as those reasons are stated clearly enough to enable judicial review.
- Since an adversely affected entity must decide whether to seek judicial review within 30 days from the date of the denial and because a court cannot review the denial without knowing the locality’s reasons, the locality must provide or make available its written reasons at essentially the same time as it communicates its denial.
- The City failed to comply with its statutory obligations under the Act. Although it issued its reasons in writing and did so in an acceptable form, it did not provide its written reasons essentially contemporaneously with its written denial when it issued detailed minutes 26 days after the date of the written denial and 4 days before expiration of petitioner’s time to seek judicial review.
The case arose from a dispute between T-Mobile South and the City of Roswell, Georgia. The city denied T-Mobile’s application to install a 108-foot cell tower, which would be disguised as a pine tree, on a 2.8-acre vacant parcel of property. Two days after the meeting, the city mailed T-Mobile a letter that stating that the application was denied but giving no reasons. The detailed written minutes of the hearing, were not approved and published by the City until 26 days later. T-Mobile filed a timely appeal. The district court found in favor of T-Mobile, but the ruling was reversed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. T-Mobile appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
The FCC announced the agenda for its Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference and Tech Fair to be held on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. See the Regulatory Mix dated 12/9/14 The first panel, entitled “Who’s Investing in Minority Tech? Early Stage Investment Strategies” will begin at 9:30 am. The second panel, entitled “How to Grow Your Idea Into a Business. Entity Formation and Incubation” will start at 10:45 am. The third panel, entitled “How Did You Do That? Road-mapping Success” will start at 1:00 pm. The Technology Fair and Fast Pitch will start at 2:00pm, with networking from 5:00-6:00pm.