WHAT OTHERS SAY: Don't let local control of cell towers slip away

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 6:03 p.m. CST

The Missouri Senate last week hurt the state's cities and counties when it quickly approved a series of bills that would limit local control over cellphone towers.

According to The Associated Press, the Senate approved bills that would reinstate many of the provisions of a 2013 law that was struck down in court. The lawmakers are trying to get around the court's decision by breaking up the measure into separate bills.

When state lawmakers had the chance to let local governments retain control of the towers, they showed they are willing to hand over power to telecommunication giants.

The Missouri Municipal League, which represents more than 670 cities, towns and villages, has voiced strong opposition to these bills. As the bills move to the House, there is speculation that lawmakers are being influenced by telecommunications companies to put the bills on the fast track.

The Municipal League warns that they would gut local land-use oversight in the state. If these bills pass, local planning and zoning commissions would no longer even be consulted on these land-use issues.

We expect these bills to land quickly in the House. We encourage you to tell your state representative that you want your local council or county commission to be in charge of local land use — those panels should be the ones to make the decisions about the placement of telecommunications equipment.

After all, it's your neighborhood and your property values that are at stake.

Now is the time for clear communication.

Copyright The Joplin Globe. Reprinted with permission.

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