Letter from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09)
After the FCC was asked if the FCC does or does not condone the breaking of local jurisdictions’ rules, regulations, codes, laws, etc. in wireless facilities sitings and collocations. Specifically, local zoning codes. The FCC responded in a letter.
The request was initiated by K-9s, Pets and People Over Profit, a grassroots coalition of cemetery patrons, residents, and community members and advocates who oppose the desecration of a 2-acre historic cemetery in a multi diverse, marginalized, unincorporated South King County neighborhood. More information: Twitter @kppoverprofit
The Honorable Adam Smith (WA-09)
2264 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
Attn: Victoria Bautista, Legislative Assistant
Re: Constituent Inquiry — Wireless Tower Permit in a Pet Cemetery
Dear Congressman Smith:
Thank you for forwarding the correspondence from your constituent, Julie Seitz, who contacted your office with a question concerning the authority of local governments to make decisions to approve or deny requests to construct communications towers and other wireless communications facilities.
Section 332(c)(7) of the Communications Act, as amended, intends to preserve the local zoning authority of state and local governments. It provides that: “Except as provided in this paragraph, nothing in this chapter shall limit or affect the authority of a State or local government or instrumentality thereof over decisions regarding the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities.” 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7). There are some limitations to that authority, including section 332(c)(7)(B)(i), which provides that state and local governments may not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services, may not regulate in a manner that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services, and must act on applications within a reasonable period of time.
Nevertheless, a state or local government authority is generally responsible for deciding whether to grant a request to deploy a wireless facility in a particular location within its jurisdiction. Thus, state or local governments may enforce their zoning ordinances—which may include consideration of aesthetics, preservation of property value, consistency with neighboring land uses, structural safety, noise, and similar concerns—provided a community acts in a manner consistent with the conditions set out in section 332(c)(7). These decisions are made by the state or local government based on its own laws and the record before it.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if we can be of further assistance to your office.
Amy Brett, Acting Chief of Staff
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
Request from the Coalition, K-9s, Pets and People Over Profit
RE: WA State “cemetery” and written confirmation that the federal government does not condone breaking local jurisdiction’s rules, regulations, codes, laws, etc. in wireless facilities sitings and collocations
Thank you again for your time in meeting with us last Friday, January 14, 2022 and for your favorable decision to advance the matter to Victoria Bautista, Legislative Assistant at Rep. Adam Smith’s D.C. Office. This email is our follow up to delineate 5 key points of our cemetery matter as it relates to our specific ask, to provide certain cemetery documents, and state our specific ask of U.S. Rep. Adam Smith and his office.
Who we are
K-9s, Pets and People Over Profit is a grassroots coalition of cemetery patrons, residents, and community members and advocates who oppose the desecration of a 2-acre historic cemetery in a multi diverse, marginalized, unincorporated South King County neighborhood and who have been speaking timely since 2019 at the first pre-application community meeting to get our voices heard and change effected. K-9s, Pets and People Over Profit is not anti-technology, but for safe technology and the appropriate placement of wireless facilities sitings and collocations that do not violate traditional ethics around sacred burial grounds and do not violate federal, state, and local jurisdictions’ rules, regulations, codes, laws, etc.
5 key points of our cemetery matter as it relates to our specific ask
We understand that U.S. Rep. Adam Smith and his office are interested in what can be done at the federal level to help us in our cemetery matter. There are multiple federal agencies that impact cemeteries and our cemetery matter. We will only focus on one of the federal agencies at this time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as it relates to our matter and our specific ask at this time. We bring out 5 key points of the matter as it relates to our specific ask below:
- The cemetery property owner since 2012, a limited liability WA State corporation and former owner/operator of the cemetery business on-site and formerly in deathcare for 30 years, allowed construction of a non cemetery use, massively intrusive “Minor Communications Facility”, inside an active burial block disrupting the sanctity of a longtime, beloved 2-acre historic cemetery since 1948. Beloved humans, pets, and K-9 Officers are all buried here, some as families.
- King County violated their own King County Title 21A Zoning Codes when permitting the wireless facility with a 100 foot tower (2020) and collocation (2021) inside active “Burial Block 13” with graves and mourners in the historic 2-acre Seattle Pet Cemetery est. 1948 in our multi diverse, marginalized unincorporated South King County neighborhood.
- WA State DOL and Funeral and Cemetery Board (FCB) has the legal authority and responsibility to regulate the “cemetery”, review the matter, and order removal of the non-cemetery use tower.
- King County and WA State DOL and FCB have failed to take action when presented with the facts.
- Inaction by the county and WA State DOL and FCB foreshadows the potential threat of development at cemeteries statewide because if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.
Certain cemetery documents
We are providing certain cemetery documents as background information on our historic cemetery. Please find the attached three official documents that support the historic and cultural significance of our historic cemetery and the official determination of “cemetery” status by the WA State Department of Archeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP). DAHP made an official determination that the historic Seattle Pet Cemetery est. 1948 in unincorporated King County is a “cemetery” according to RCW 68.04.040. Human remains, as defined by RCW 68.04.020, are buried here.
Our “cemetery” has official determinations of eligibility for historic and cultural significance as mentioned. However, for our specific ask today, although we want every protection enforced for our historic cemetery, many cemeteries do not have official historic designations. We are advocating not only for the protection of our historic cemetery but for every cemetery in WA State.
Our specific ask
We ask U.S. Rep. Adam Smith to contact a specific individual or group within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the highest knowledge of the most current rules and regulations of wireless facilities siting and collocations. Our objective is to get written confirmation that the FCC does not condone the breaking of local jurisdictions’ rules, regulations, codes, laws, etc. in wireless facilities sitings and collocations. Specifically, local zoning codes.
We would like to take that written confirmation back to King County Local Services Permitting Division and let them know that they do have the right to reject proposals on wireless facilities sitings and collocations that are not in compliance with local rules, regulations, codes, laws, etc. Specifically, local zoning codes.
Respectfully Submitted and With Appreciation,
4Culture ‘Preservation Special Projects’ Grant 2021 Awardee |
“King County Landmark Nomination for the Historic Seattle Pet Cemetery”
Highest Monetary Award and Equity Investment
(Presentation date at the Landmarks Commission TBA)
Oppose King County Permit File Nos. ELEC19-0063 and ELEC21-0028
Cemetery Patron and Point of Contact | King County Citizen
K-9s, Pets and People Over Profit
Cemetery Consumer Advocate | Community Member | King County Citizen