Bill Summary for H 310 (2017-2018)

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Summary date: 

May 18 2017

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 310 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 9, 2017
Intro. by Saine, Torbett, Wray.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Amends the long title.

Amends the legislative findings.

Recodifies GS 160A-400.51(4a) as GS 160A-400.51(4d) (was, (4b)).

Amends GS 160A-400.51 (Definitions). Amends definitions of application, city utility pole, small wireless facility, utility pole, wireless infrastructure provider, and wireless service. Excludes from the term collocation the installation of new utility poles, city utility poles, or wireless support structures. Adds and defines communication facility, communications service, and micro wireless facility.

Amends proposed GS 160A-400.54 (Collocation of small wireless facilities) as follows. Prohibits cities from establishing (was, instituting) the currently described moratoria regarding applications and permits for small wireless facilities. Replaces the provisions directing small wireless facilities to be classified as permitted uses with the following: provides that small wireless facilities that meet the height requirements of GS 160A-400.55(b)(2) are only subject to administrative review and approval under this statute if they are collocated in a city right-of-way within a zoning district or outside of rights-of-way on property other than single-family residential property. Deletes the provision requiring city-mandated permits for collocated small wireless facilities to be of general applicability, and to not apply exclusively to wireless facilities. Amends the requirements for a city receiving applications for, processing, and issuing such permits as follows: (1) Amends the definition ofservices unrelated to the collocation, deleting the language explicitly stating that the services might be other than those described. (2) Requires a wireless provider to complete the applicantion as specified in form and content by the city. (3) Replaces the provision requiring the city to notify an applicant within 10 days of the completeness of an application with one providing that a permit application is deemed complete unless the city provides written notice otherwise to the applicant within 30 days of submission, or some other mutually agreed upon time frame, and provides requirements for the contents of the notice and procedure for correction. (4) Shortens the time in which the city must process an application from 60 days to 45 days from the time the application is deemed complete, or another mutually agreed upon time frame. (5) Adds reasons a city may deny an application, including failure to comply with local code provisions or regulations concerning public safety or other listed topics, public safety and reasonable spacing requirements, or historic preservation requirements in GS 160A-400.55(h). (6) Clarifies that the city must approve or deny a revised application within 30 days of the date on which an application is resubmitted. (7) Authorizes an applicant to file a consolidated application for no more than 25 separate facilities and receive a single permit for the collocation of those facilities (1st edition contains no limit on the number of facilities), and authorizes the city to remove small wireless facility collocations for which incomplete information has been provided, or that will be denied, from a consolidated application and treat them separately and authorizes the city to issue separate permits for each collocation that is approved. (8) Authorizes the permit to specify that collocation shall commence within six months of approval (was, one year), and be activated for use no later than one year from the permit issuance date, unless otherwise agreed upon, or a delay is caused by a lack of commercial power. (9) Adds the requirement that the application include an attestation that the small wireless facilities must be collocated on the pole or structure and that the facilities must be activated for use by a provider no later than one year from the permit issuance date unless an extension is agreed to or a delay is caused by lack of power. Amends the authorized fees that a city may charge, eliminating the requirement that a city charge a fee for other similar activities, setting out requirements for determining an application fee amount, authorizing a technical consulting fee of up to $500, and making other changes. Authorizes a city to require a wireless services provider to remove an abandoned wireless facility within 180 days of abandonment, and to remove the facility if the provider fails to timely remove the facility and recover costs from the provider. Specifies when a wireless facility is considered to be abandoned. Prohibits a city from requiring an application or permit (was, application) for routine maintenance, or other currently listed activities. Adds that an application or permit may not be required for installation, placement, maintenance, or replacement of micro wireless facilities suspended on cables strung between existing poles in compliance with applicable codes by or for a provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way and who is paying specified taxes. Does not prevent a city from requiring a work permit for work that involves excavation, affects traffic patterns, or obstructs vehicular traffic in the city right-of-way.

Amends proposed GS 160A-400.55 as follows. Deletes the provision applying the statute to the activities of a wireless provider within any city right-of-way. Replaces subsection (c), regarding the zoning review or approval of collocation of wireless facilities, with a provision authorizing the collocation of small wireless facilities and accompanying placement, maintenance, modification, operation, or replacement of the facilities along, across, upon, or under any city right-of-way, subject to GS 160A-400.54, with review and approval only under GS 160A-400.54(d) if the wireless provider meets two listed limits regarding the size and placement of the wireless facilities. Does not prohibit a city from allowing utility poles, city utility poles, and wireless facilities that exceed those size and placement limits. Amends subsection (e), regarding city undergrounding requirements, to delete the language referring specifically to communications undergrounding requirements, and to further condition compliance with the undergrounding requirements upon their containing a waiver process. Amends the provisions regarding a right-of-way charge, deleting the $20 annual limit for each utility pole in certain circumstances, and making other changes. Does not establish or affect rates charged for attachments to utility poles, city utility poles, or wireless support structures, and authorizes a city to provide free access to rights-of-way at its discretion. Does not authorize the placement, maintenance, modification, operation, or replacement of a privately owned utility pole or wireless support structure, or the collocation of small wireless facilities on such structures, without the consent of the property owner. Further authorizes a city to require a wireless provider to repair all damage to a city right-of-way directly caused by its activities while occupying, installing, repairing, or maintaining city utility poles. Authorizes the city to maintain an action to recover the costs of repairs. Does not limit local government authority to enforce historic preservation zoning regulations, federal zoning authority, federal facility modification requirements, or the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and accompanying regulations, local acts, and charter provisions. Authorizes a wireless provider to apply to a city to place utility polls in the public rights-of-way, or to replace or modify such poles, to support the collocation of small wireless facilities. Directs a city to accept and process the applications under GS 160A-400.54(d), and other listed codes. Authorizes the application to be submitted in conjunction with the associated small wireless facility application.

Deletes the content of GS 160A-400.56 and replaces it with the following. Prohibits a city from entering into an exclusive arrangement with any person for the right to collocate small wireless facilities on city utility poles. Directs a city to allow any wireless provider to collocate small wireless facilities on its city utility poles at just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rates, terms, and conditions, not to exceed $50 per pole per year. Directs the NC Utilities Commission not to consider this requirement as evidence in proceedings under GS 62-350(c). Requests to collocate may only be denied for insufficient capacity, or for irremediable reasons of safety, reliability, and engineering principles. Directs a city, in granting a request under this statute, to require a requesting entity to comply with applicable safety requirements. Directs cities operating public enterprises with existing city utility pole attachment rates, fees, or other terms with an entity, to apply them to collocations by that entity or its related entities on city utility poles. Directs a city to establish rates, terms, and conditions for use or attachment to its city utility poles within 60 days of receiving a first request from a wireless provider to collocate on a city utility pole. Directs the city to provide a good faith estimate for any make-ready necessary to enable the city utility pole to support the requested collocation within 60 days of receiving a complete application, and directs make-ready work to begin within 60 days of written acceptance of the good faith estimate. Prohibits requiring more make-ready work than required to meet applicable codes or industry standards. Describes calculation of make-ready estimates. Does not apply to an entity whose poles, ducts, and conduits are subject to regulation under section 224 of the Communications Act of 1934 or GS 62-350. Does not apply to an excluded entity, or affect the authority of an excluded entity (as defined) to deny, limit, restrict, or determine the rates, fees, terms and conditions for the use of poles, ducts, or conduits by communications service providers.

Deletes the previous content of GS 160A-400.57 and replaces it with the following. Prohibits a city from adopting or enforcing an ordinance, rule, regulation, or resolution that regulates the design, engineering, construction, installation, or operation of any small wireless facility in an interior structure or on the site of a stadium or athletic facility, except for stadiums or facilities owned or controlled by the city. Does not prohibit the enforcement of applicable codes. Does not affect private easements. Except as under this Part (GS Chapter 160A, Part 19), or otherwise under the General Statutes, prohibits a city from adopting or enforcing regulations on the placement or operation of communications facilities in the rights-of-way by a provider authorized by State law to operate there. Except as under this Part or otherwise under the General Statutes, prohibits a city from imposing or collecting a tax, fee, or charge to provide a communications service over a communications facility in the right-of-way. Approval of a small wireless facility under this Part does not authorize the provision of any communications services or communications facility, other than a small wireless facility, in the right-of-way.

Deletes proposed changes to GS 62-350 and Section 2(e), regarding the effectiveness of Section 2.

Amends proposed GS 136-18.3A (Wireless communications infrastructure). Authorizes the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue permits to wireless providers for collocation of wireless facilities, as currently described, along, across, upon, or under (was, along, across, upon and under) the rights-of-way of State highways. Directs the DOT to take action to approve or deny a permit under this statute within a reasonable period of time (was, application is deemed approved if no action within 60 days). Replaces subsection (d), which authorized DOT to charge a wireless provider for use of the right-of-way, with a provision requiring collocation of small wireless facilities in State highway rights-of-way to comply with specified requirements regarding obstruction or hindrance of travel or public safety, and the construction, operation, and modification of related appurtenances and facilities, and height and placement of the facilities. Deletes subsection (e), which authorized DOT to require repair of damage to a right-of-way.

Makes the entire act effective when it becomes law.