In a joint letter last month, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), Urban Counties of California (UCC), California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and the American Planning Association, California Chapter (APA), expressed the position of “Oppose Unless Amended” to AB 537, which is intended to expedite wireless telecommunications facility permitting.

Authored by Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D- Hayward), AB 537 attempts to expedite the siting of wireless facilities by establishing additional limitations on local government permit application review with confusing processing timeframes and unclear impacts. Specifically, the proposed language provides that when a telecommunication siting application is deemed approved, “all necessary permits shall be deemed issued,” which creates a new construct that could make it more difficult for local agencies to address deficiencies related to health and safety requirements. This is especially concerning in the public right-of-way where pedestrians and automotive traffic intermix, requiring thorough mitigation planning.

While in its current form AB 537 is ambiguous and problematic, RCRC and our partners continue to seek a mutually agreeable compromise that will appropriately expediate deployment of high-speed internet service to California’s unserved and underserved communities.

The joint letter may be viewed here. For additional information, contact Tracy Rhine by email or call 916-447-4806.