Constitutional Rubicon Crossed in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County Office of Regional Planning is recommending amendments to two County Codes, Title 16 and Title 22, that will dramatically accelerate the densification of small cell and macro tower wireless facilities in the County. The proposed amendments are designed to codify post hoc illegal practices that are already being implemented in the County. If the L.A. County Board of Supervisors passes the ordinance amendments in its July 2022 meeting, the consequences for Los Angeles County and throughout California by this negative precedent will be disastrous:

  • The existing framework of Conditional Use Permits will be replaced by a “Ministerial Site Review” system that will remove discretion from Los Angeles County administration.
  • The effect of this bureaucratic sleight of hand will be to remove protections of due process guaranteed by the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the California State Constitution.
  • No longer will advance notification or public hearings on wireless facility permits be required.
  • Telecom companies will be able to assert ownership rights over existing property rights by virtue of public easements on telephone poles, an illegal taking of property constituting an inverse condemnation.
  • There are few requirements for permit applicants.
  • There are even fewer conditions or findings that must be made by staff to ensure compliance with the application requirements.
  • No insurance, bond or indemnification is required. The County and the public are being asked to bear the entire risks and costs of the enterprise for the benefit of the wireless purveyors.
  • There has been no environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared as required by NEPA and CEQA.
  • There are no special rules or regulations for the protection of historic sites, environmentally sensitive areas, tribal lands, airports, or schools.
  • Effective measures to prevent and manage fires are absent, when the existing Malibu Ordinance offers an viable model.

Proposed Titles 16 and 22 represent the latest cynical power grab by the wireless industry and, when approved as no doubt it will, how far government bureaucrats have lost sight of their public missions, balance, and the rule of law.

The following are some key resources in the case, including the Complaint in Angela Sherick-Bright, the first of a series of lawsuits that will seek judicial relief from the folly of Los Angeles County.

Article source: https://www.bbilan.org/blog/2022-03-25-la-county-regional-planning-hearing

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