Coming Changes to ORC Will Significantly Undermine Municipal Authority Over Small Cell Wireless Facilities in the ROW

On December 7, 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute Senate Bill 331 (SB 331), which significantly impacts a municipality's ability to regulate the placement, construction, modification, and maintenance of "small cell" wireless facilities in the public right of way. As originally introduced, SB 331 only sought to regulate dog sales by pet stores and retailers. But as the Generally Assembly went into its lame duck session, additional provisions – completely unrelated to the original subject – were inserted into the legislation, including amendments to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4939 intended to provide expedited access to municipal right-of-way (ROW) for small cell wireless providers. Governor Kasich signed the bill on December 19, 2016, and it will take effect in 90 days. [More]