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SB 649 (Hueso): Not so “Small” Cell

We received another update from APA California regarding SB 649:

B 649 passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 26th, after amendments were made in an agreement with the chair of the committee and the author.

Those amendments included:

  1. Discretionary approval of small cell permits in the coastal zone and in historic districts

  2. Limited ability to apply design standards for property in the right of way, however the language is conflicting and difficult to interpret

  3. Fees for leasing of public property set at a range of $100-$850 per year, with an agreement to add language on how those fees could be calculated. Those amendments were supposed to be taken in the Senate Appropriations Committee, however THOSE AMENDMENTS DID NOT HAPPEN

After a brief hold up on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File, the bill is now out and on its way to the Senate Floor for a vote next week – without amendments on the fee calculations. Even with the amendments above, the bill still mandates a city/county to lease their public property at prescribed rates – those fees would likely barely cover maintenance costs. APA California also believes more clarification is needed on the permit process and is concerned SB 649 will set a dangerous precedent for other private industries to seek similar treatment. APA California, along with other local government associations and many cities/counties continue to remain very opposed.

Please send your letter to Governance & Finance Committee staff: and the author’s staff: Please also make sure you send a copy of the letter to your local Senator and Assembly Member and one to me for my records. APA California will be drafting a new coalition letter next week after our meeting with committee staff and will post the letter online for your reference.

For more information, contact Bill Rodrigues, Orange Section Liaison or Lauren de Valencia y Sanchez, APA California Lobbyist.

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