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Cell tower development often faces obstacles

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone or smartphone. Cell tower companies are scrambling to keep up with the demand. There is no sign of the need for connection slowing down anytime soon. Regardless, the trend poses some problems. 

Municipalities and landowners alike are sometimes unenthusiastic about having a cell phone tower in their community. This type of reluctance can create a lot of issues for contractors and telecommunication companies.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is a law that allows anyone to enter any communications business. In summary, it preserves local zoning authority while protecting cell tower development rights.

Adopting moratorium

Despite the laws in place, some municipalities use improper tactics to stall, delay or stop tower development. In addition, some cities argue that cell towers present dilemmas, such as:

  • Costs
  • Health issues
  • Property value

Cell phone tower installations occasionally have negative impacts on property values. According to a National Institute for Science survey, 94 percent of people surveyed would not buy real estate next to a cell tower.

Cities sometimes use a moratorium to buy more time, especially when they oppose cell tower development. Additionally, cities need time to develop telecommunication ordinances. Such ordinances establish where cell towers can be built. If passed, a moratorium can stall construction approval and can set companies back for months.

Moratoria is just one of the tactics cities and townships use to limit cell tower development. Other times, a city may enforce unreasonable restrictions or deny construction with no proper support. Fortunately, the TCA protects companies from unfair delays and denial. Telecommunication providers may benefit from exploring various legal options.

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