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Board of County Commissioners’ Statement

We, as your localelected officials, have received many comments and concerns from citizens regarding the industry’s ongoing efforts to deploy small cell facilities in Douglas County.  We agree that the health and safety of our citizens is of paramount importance, and we share your concerns about the design and placement of personal wireless service facilities in Douglas County.  Unfortunately, federal and state law have increasingly restricted our ability to regulate the deployment of personal wireless service facilities.  For example, federal law prohibits state and local governments from regulating the placement, construction or modification of personal wireless service facilities based on the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions so long as the facilities comply with the FCC’s regulations on such emissions.  In addition, state law prohibits local governments from prohibiting cell sites in any type of zoning district, including residential zoning districts.  

As federal and state law continue to develop in this area, we are exploring avenues that remain available to us to protect the health, safety, convenience, aesthetics, and welfare of present and future residents. We are currently seeking input from the local municipalities and examining regulations in surrounding communities related to small cell facilities to inform our own response.  Douglas County is also part of an organization that is challenging the validity of the FCC’s order restricting local governments’ ability to regulate small cell deployment.   

To further address our citizen’s concerns, we met directly with our federal legislators in Washington D.C. to request their intervention with the FCC, both to compel completion of its RF Emissions study and modify the recent 2014 and 2018 orders which limit the County’s ability to regulate the aesthetic impacts of small cell and other telecommunication facilities  We will continue to advocate for measures at the state and federal levels that enhance local control over these issues. We encourage you to do the same.    

Thank you, 

Douglas County Commissioners