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  • By Lisa Brody

Bloomfield Hills opposes wireless upgrade bills

With a unanimous vote on Tuesday, November 13, Bloomfield Hills city commissioners supported a resolution opposing Senate Bill 637, the Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act, and Senate Bill 894, which would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to allow wireless communications service providers to access and use public right-of-way, and limit municipal authority.

According to the Michigan legislature, Senate Bill 637 would create the Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act, and Senate Bill 894 would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to subject zoning ordinances to the proposed new act. Senate Bill 637 would allow “wireless services providers and wireless infrastructure providers access to the public rights-of-way and the ability to attach to poles and structures in the public rights-of-way to enhance their networks and provide next generation services.” Further, it would prohibit an authority, such as a municipality, “from prohibiting, regulating, or charging for the collections of small cell wireless facilities.”

The purpose of the bills, which are tie-barred, is to “Increase investment in wireless networks that will benefit the citizens of the state by providing better access to emergency services, advanced technology, and information.”

Bloomfield Hills followed in the footsteps of neighboring municipality Bloomfield Township, which passed a similar resolution in October. Numerous other municipalities have also issued resolutions opposing the Senate bills, which they assert “threatens to limit the zoning and regulatory authority of local governments in the siting of telecommunication infrastructure within its jurisdiction and permits the use of public property for private, for-profit, business purposes without compensation,” said Bloomfield Hills' resolution.

It would also “cap the amount state and local governments could charge local providers for the deployment of small cell wireless facilities for permits and fees,” the resolution continued. “The city commission for the city of Bloomfield Hills strongly opposes the adoption of SB 637 and SB 894.”

The commission also requested that a task force be established with other local governments to develop new laws that would speed up the deployment of small wireless telecommunications infrastructure without limiting zoning authority or the ability of local governments to raise revenue.

The two Senate bills went before state House on Wednesday, November 28, where they passed, and are expected to be signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

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