to preserve, protect, and enhance the scenic beauty of virginia

Legislative Update & Need for Immediate Action

The General Assembly passed two bad bills — HB 1258 (Patron: Del. Terry Kilgore) and SB 405 (Patron: Sen. Ryan McDougle) — that would allow the wireless industry to place new wireless infrastructure of up to 50 feet tall on public rights-of-way without going through a zoning process. This strips local authority and prevents residents from voicing any concerns about placement. We need your help to convince Governor Ralph Northam to veto both bills. The clock is ticking – a decision on a veto has to be made by April 10 – and we need your help.

What would this look like?

A California planner created this image to demonstrate what's possible when localities care about visual appearance. [That's San Francisco on the left and Oakland on the right.]

A California planner created this image to demonstrate what’s possible when localities care about visual appearance. [That’s San Francisco on the left and Oakland on the right.]

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Submit a Comment Online

Governor Northam has made it very easy for Virginians to weigh in on issues by including a page on his official website where we can let him know what we think about issues. Click HERE to visit the page.

Call

If you’d prefer to speak with a staff member, call (804) 786-2211. Remember: Elected officials want — and need — to hear the opinions of their constituents.

Here are some points for discussion:

1) The wireless industry sold these bills to legislators by talking about the need for expanded service to rural and under-served areas. Nothing in the bill guarantees expansion of service.

2) These bills strip local authority regarding the permitting and siting of this infrastructure. Localities that care about their visual appearance should have the ability to request a better outcome. Less-obtrusive options obviously exist, but nothing in the bill guarantees that they will be used.

3) Nothing in the bills exempts important public and significant scenic areas, including gateways, parks, trails, designated Virginia Byways and State Scenic Rivers, cultural sites, and the viewsheds from historic sites.

4) The organizations representing Virginia local governments — the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties – vehemently oppose HB 1258 and SB 405.

5) Other opponents include the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the Virginia Conservation Network, Preservation Virginia, and the Piedmont Environmental Council.

6) Opposition to these bills continued to grow as the Session progressed. In fact, the House very nearly defeated SB 405. (It passed by a single vote.)

AS ALWAYS: Thank you in advance for your assistance. If you have any questions, let us know.