The City of South Lake Tahoe amended its City Code in 2020 to reasonably regulate Wireless Communication Facilities (WCFs), to the extent permitted by California and federal law, for the installation, operation, collocation, modification and removal of wireless facilities in the City.
California cities are preempted from regulating various aspects of wireless communications facility siting by both state and federal law. In particular, cities cannot prohibit or effectively prohibit wireless facilities, unreasonably discriminate against wireless service providers or regulate such facilities on the basis of radio frequency emissions to the extent those emissions comply with federal standards.
Most recently, the Federal Communications Commission issued regulations that require cities to approve some collocations at previously approved facilities and allow for alterations to existing facilities if the alteration is not considered a “substantial change” pursuant to Section 6409(a) and the FCC’s regulations at 47 C.F.R. § 1.40001. These new federal rules are not limited to traditional telecommunications towers but apply to essentially any communications facility. In addition, California adopted new legislation that further restricts the time in which cities have to review proposed installations and collocations.
Western Communities Coalition Comments To FCC
The City of South Lake Tahoe has joined a coalition of cities and other local government associations (collectively, the "Western Communities Coalition") in submitting comments opposing industry petitions to the FCC to consider further limits on local control over wireless facilities.