2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
May 25, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Kuglitsch, Fields,
Tauchen, Zepnick and R. Brooks, cosponsored by Senator Cowles. Referred
to Committee on Jobs and the Economy.
1An Act to create
66.0404 (4e) and 66.0414 of the statutes; relating to: limiting
2the authority of the state and political subdivisions to regulate wireless
3facilities and authorizing political subdivisions to impose setback requirements
4for certain mobile service support structures.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill creates a regulatory framework for the state and political subdivisions
(cities, villages, towns, and counties) for the deployment of wireless equipment and
facilities, including the placement of such items in rights-of-way (ROW), the
collocation of such facilities on existing poles and structures, the regulation of access
to governmental structures by wireless services and infrastructure providers, and
limitations on local authority to regulate such activities. The bill also authorizes
political subdivisions to impose setback requirements for certain mobile service
With regard to ROW, the bill does the following:
1. Prohibits the state and political subdivisions from entering into an exclusive
agreement with any person for the use of ROW or the construction, operation, or
maintenance of wireless facilities, wireless support structures, or the collocation of
small wireless facilities (collectively, wireless facilities and structures). The bill
defines “wireless facility” as equipment at a fixed location that enables wireless
service between user equipment and a wireless network. Under the bill, a “small
wireless facility” is a facility that has specified dimensions.
2. Provides that the state and political subdivisions may impose rates or fees
on wireless providers only if they charge other communications service providers or
utilities for the use of ROW, subject to a number of conditions and limitations.
3. Subject to a number of exceptions, and notwithstanding a political
subdivision's zoning ordinances, authorizes a wireless provider to collocate wireless
facilities and construct, modify, maintain, and operate (collectively, construct and
operate) utility poles, wireless support structures, cable, and related appurtenances
and facilities along, across, upon, and under ROW, provided such activity does not
obstruct or hinder travel or public safety or impede other uses of ROW by
communications service providers, public utilities, or cooperatives.
4. Limits the height of utility poles, wireless support structures, and wireless
facilities. With regard to the rights of a wireless provider to construct wireless
facilities or modify utility poles, wireless support structures, and related
appurtenances, the bill allows a political subdivision to propose an alternate location
within 50 feet of the proposed location, which the wireless provider must use if it has
the right to do so and the alternate location is reasonable and does not impose
additional cost or technical issues, as determined by the wireless provider.
5. Allows the state or political subdivisions to require a wireless provider to
repair all damage that is directly caused by its activities in ROW that involve
wireless facilities and structures.
Collocation of small wireless facilities
With regard to the activities of a wireless provider within and outside a ROW,
the bill does the following:
1. Subject to a number of exceptions, prohibits the state and political
subdivisions from prohibiting, regulating, or charging any person for the collocation
of small wireless facilities.
2. Notwithstanding a political subdivision's zoning ordinances, classifies small
wireless facilities as a permitted use that is not subject to such zoning ordinances if
they are collocated in or outside a ROW if the property is not zoned exclusively for
single-family residential use.
3. Subject to a number of conditions, authorizes the state and political
subdivisions to require an application for a permit to collocate a small wireless
facility and to construct and operate a new or replacement utility pole or wireless
support structure if the permit is of general applicability and does not apply
exclusively to wireless facilities. The bill imposes various time limits relating to the
permit application and approval process. Generally, permits for collocation
involving construction, building, or encroachment must be approved or denied
within 90 days of receipt, and permits for collocation that does not involve
construction or installation of new wireless facilities and structures must be
approved or denied within 60 days of receipt.
4. Requires the state or political subdivisions to approve permit applications
unless the application does not meet applicable codes, which are defined as state
codes related to electrical wiring, plumbing, and fire prevention; commercial
building codes; uniform dwelling codes; and local amendments to those codes.
5. Prohibits the state and political subdivisions from requiring an applicant to
perform services unrelated to the collocation to which a permit relates, and prohibits
such governmental units from requiring a wireless provider permit applicant to
provide more information in its permit application than the governmental unit
requires of communications service providers for the same type of permit.
6. Requires an applicant whose permit application is approved to commence
the activity authorized by the permit within 365 days after its receipt and requires
the applicant to pursue work on the activity until completion. However, the bill
prohibits the state and political subdivisions from placing any time limit on an
application related to the permit.
7. Prohibits the state and political subdivisions from imposing a moratorium
on filing, receiving, or processing applications, or issuing permits for the collocation
of small wireless facilities.
8. Allows the state and political subdivisions to require a permit application to
collocate wireless facilities and construct and operate utility poles and wireless
facilities and structures with regard to property that, on the effective date of the bill,
is located in historic places or in an area that is used for the underground
transmission or delivery of electrical power, heat, water, gas, sewer, or
9. Subject to a number of conditions, authorizes the state and political
subdivisions to charge an application fee for permits if an application fee is required
for similar types of permit applications related to other types of commercial
development. Generally, neither the state nor a political subdivision may require
applications, permits, or fees for routine maintenance of wireless facilities; the
replacement of such facilities with substantially similar or smaller facilities; or
installation, maintenance, operation, or replacement of microwireless facilities
strung on cables between existing utility poles or wireless support structures.
Access to governmental structures
With regard to regulating access to governmental structures, the bill does the
1. Defines “governmental pole” as a utility pole that is owned or operated by
the state or a political subdivision in a ROW, and a pole or similar structure owned
or operated by the state or a political subdivision in a ROW that supports only
2. Defines “utility pole for designated services” (UPDS) as a utility pole owned
or operated in a ROW by the state or a political subdivision, a utility district, or a
3. Prohibits a person who owns or controls a governmental pole or UPDS from
entering into an exclusive arrangement with any person for the right to attach to or
use such poles, and prohibits the owner of such poles from imposing fees or charges
for the use of the poles that discriminate based on the type of collocation provided by
the person who contracts to use the poles.
4. Limits the rate an owner of a UPDS may charge to collocate on the pole to
$100 per year per pole.
5. Subject to a number of conditions, limits the rate an owner of a governmental
pole charges another person to collocate on the pole to an amount that is sufficient
to recover the owner's actual, direct, and reasonable costs, subject to the limit
specified in item 4.
6. Provides that if collocation rates charged on the effective date of the bill by
a person who owns or controls a governmental pole or UPDS are inconsistent with
the rates specified in the bill, the pole owner must revise its rates to be in compliance
with the rates specified in the bill, not later than the first day of the seventh month
beginning after the bill takes effect.
7. Provides that a person who owns or controls a governmental pole or UPDS
may not require more make-ready work than required to meet applicable codes or
industry standards, and prohibits fees for make-ready work from including costs
related to preexisting conditions, prior damage, or noncompliance with current
standards. Such fees may not exceed actual costs or the amount charged to other
communications service providers for similar work.
8. Requires the state and political subdivisions to authorize the collocation of
small wireless facilities on wireless support structures and governmental poles that
are not located within ROW to the same extent that the governmental unit permits
access to such structures for other commercial projects or uses.
Local authority, dispute resolution
With regard to the authority of a political subdivision, the bill does the
1. Subject to the limitations contained in the bill, and federal law, authorizes
a political subdivision to exercise zoning, land use, planning, and permitting
authority with respect to wireless support structures and utility poles.
2. In general, prohibits a political subdivision from exercising authority over
the design, engineering, construction, installation, or operation of any small wireless
facility located inside or on the site of any campus, stadium, or athletic facility not
owned or controlled by the political subdivision.
3. Provides a mechanism for political subdivisions to allow the placement of a
wireless facility or wireless support structure at a temporary rate pending the
resolution of a ROW dispute.
In general, the bill requires a wireless provider to indemnify and hold harmless
a political subdivision for any liability and loss from personal injury or property
damage that results from the use or occupancy of ROW by the wireless provider, and
requires a wireless provider to waive any claims it may have against a political
subdivision with respect to damages, however caused, based on the theory of liability.
If a person is affected by a contract that is in effect on the effective date of the
bill, and the contract contains provisions inconsistent with provisions in the bill
related to rates and fees for the use of ROW or charges for the use of a governmental
pole or a UPDS, the person may follow the terms of the contract until the contract
Setback requirements for a mobile service support structure
Generally, under current law, a political subdivision may not impose a setback
requirement for a mobile service support structure. This bill grants a political
subdivision limited authority to impose a setback requirement on the placement of
such a structure with regard to new or substantially modified structures. Under the
bill, a requirement could apply only to a structure that is constructed on land that
is zoned for only single-family residential use. In addition, the setback requirement
must be based on the height of the proposed structure, and the requirement may not
exceed the height of the proposed structure.
Also under the bill, a political subdivision must allow a setback of a proposed
mobile service support structure that is less than the height of the structure if all
property owners of lots zoned for only single-family residential use, located within
a radius of three times the height of the structure, consent to such placement.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.