Cities, Cellphone Companies Resolve Dispute on Where to Place Towers

Jun 5, 2015

A fight by Iowa cities over where communications  companies can erect cellphone towers has been resolved at the statehouse.  

That eliminates one more roadblock as lawmakers slog toward adjournment of the 2015 session.  

Des Moines Democrat Janet Peterson says interested parties hammered out an agreement on how much say-so cities can have.

‘We had a number of concessions where the League of Cities came together,” Peterson.   “They said they thought they could live with the changes that are being made.”

Cellphone companies would enjoy uniform guidelines from city to city.  But companies would have to explain why a new tower is needed, rather than co-locating on an existing tower.   Also, the guidelines sunset in five years.

“Hopefully it will let them know they can’t be walking all over us,” Peterson says.   “The legislature has the capacity to take it away after five years.”

Peterson says that’s the biggest change to give cities “more comfort level” with the new uniform guidelines.

Under the bill, all documents involving celllphone applications will be subject to open records laws.   The bill also clarifies which fees cities can charge.

Cities and cellphone companies have been trying to reach agreement on a tower siting bill for at least two years.

The bill now goes to the governor.