GDB Attorneys Kevin Sullivan And Aarti Kewalramani Obtain Court of Appeal Opinion Upholding Permits And CEQA Exemption For A Wireless Telecom Structure

Land Use Alert (March 2018)

On March 15, 2018, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One published a decision upholding the City of San Diego’s permits and CEQA categorical exemption determination for a 35-foot high faux tree wireless facility to be located in a dedicated City park.  GDB Partner Kevin Sullivan and Senior Associate Aarti Kewalramani represented the nation’s largest wireless telecom carrier in the suit.
In DCOP v. City of San Diego and Verizon Wireless, Court of Appeal Case No. D071863, the Court held that the well-designed and well-located telecom facility enabled use of common wireless services and was consistent with park and recreation purposes. The facility therefore did not violate the restrictive City Charter language stating that a dedicated City park “shall not be used for any but park and recreation purposes without the changed use or purpose” having been approved by a 2/3 citizen vote. The Court also held that the 35-foot high well-designed and visually integrated faux tree facility properly qualified for a CEQA categorical exemption under Guidelines §15303. While certain small wireless equipment items and attachments in the public ROW have previously been found by the courts to qualify for a categorical exemption from CEQA, this is the first known published California decision that applies the CEQA exemption to a faux tree wireless facility.

For further information, please contact Kevin Sullivan at 760.431.9501.
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