Calgary Real Estate developers and cell tower activists in Calgary are now targeting their efforts to prove Calgary real estate property values depreciate after the installation of a cell tower. The City of Calgary has put forward a proposal to levy a new business license requirement of the Calgary home owners that are leasing their land to the companies who have erected cell phone towers. Although the City has little jurisdiction over the installation of cell phone towers they have reasoned that the Calgary property owners do meet the basic criteria for business licensing. These are:
- Where there is a clear danger to public safety;
2. Where the licensing function clearly assists in legislative compliance such as crime prevention and the recovery of stolen property;
3. Where some form of consumer protection is warranted such as supplier qualifications or limitations on the businesses that are conducted at the potential consumer’s residence;
4. Where the operation of the business rather than its location can cause negative spill over effects into the neighbourhood;
5. Where the business activity clearly conflicts with the moral values of the citizens of Calgary; or
6. Where an alternative to the business tax is needed so that some businesses that do not pay the tax do not have an unfair advantage over those that do.
Under the current license fees the proposed business licensing would cost the land owners $153 for a first time applicant and $117 to renew, however most residences could likely be considered non resident business’s and subjected to and additional surcharge of $604.
As well there is a different proposal that is suggesting each antenna on the tower be subject to a fee of $150 each. Depending on the tower it could hold several antennas. There is no suggested recourse for persons now stuck with a tower on their property and do not agree with the new business license requirement other than – due to prohibitive costs of enforcement – it is suggested by the City that it will be voluntary compliance. The suggestion of voluntary compliance seems to be contrary to the purpose of licensing a business as it is to regulate business activity by coordinating provincial and municipal necessary approvals prior to the commencement of business activity. As well a business license is to ensure a business remains compliant with legislations and a way of monitoring its activities so license can be revoked for non-compliance. Non-payment would be a form of non-compliance.
The rules regarding cell towers:
– Building permits are not required for cell phone towers.
– The City does not review and evaluate any telecommunication antenna structure, including cell towers.
– There is no appeal procedure for cell towers.
– Towers must comply with Safety Code 6 (Limits of Human Exposure to Radio frequency Electromagnetic Energy) which limits the frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz
– Once concurrence has been issued there is no set time limit for when the installation must go up.
– A land owner cannot be compelled to allow a cell tower on their property.
– Towers over 15 meters in height and within 100 meters of residential property must inform The City and give written notification to affected residences within a 300 meter radius.