ADA Protection Used in Santa Fe

We had a major precedent-setting victory in Santa Fe Wednesday January 19, 2011. The Board of Adjustment denied AT&T a permit to hide a new base station in a church chimney because it violated a section of the City Code that requires remedies for the health and safety impacts of communication towers. The City Attorney’s office tried to tell the Board members that they didn’t have jurisdiction over health and safety because of federal law, but the Board stood firm. We had approximately 100 people show up in opposition, and everyone spoke about health. We told the board that the Telecommunications Act is not the only federal law they have to obey. There is also the ADA and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the end they quoted the city’s own code. AT&T is expected to appeal this decision to the City Council, where a bill  for a six-month moratorium on antennas and towers has just been introduced. It’s getting pretty exciting in Santa Fe.

In a related matter, the Justice Department is proposing to revise some of its ADA regulations. Read the comments of the Cellular Phone Task Force to the Justice Department.