Federal Guidelines for Local and State Government Authority over the Siting of Personal Wireless Service Facilities
332(c)(7) of the Communications Act preserves state and local authority
over zoning and land use decisions for personal wireless service facilities,
but sets forth specific limitations on that authority. Specifically, a
state or local government may not unreasonably discriminate among providers
of functionally equivalent services, may not regulate in a manner that
prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless
services, must act on applications within a reasonable period of time,
and must make any denial of an application in writing supported by substantial
evidence in a written record. The statute also preempts local decisions
premised directly or indirectly on the environmental effects of radio
frequency (RF) emissions, assuming that the provider is in compliance
with the Commission's RF rules.
Allegations that a state or local government has acted inconsistently
332(c)(7) are to be resolved exclusively by the courts (with the exception
of cases involving regulation based on the health effects of RF emissions,
which can be resolved by the courts or the Commission). Thus, other than
RF emissions cases, the Commission's role in Section
332(c)(7) issues is primarily one of information and facilitation.
Return to Top
Last reviewed/updated on 12/17/2010.