Although Delaware has joined a legal push by dozens of Ohio cities to maintain say over what goes on in the right of way, Powell remains on the sidelines.
Fifty municipalities represented by the Ice Miller law firm in Columbus filed suit March 20 in an effort to overturn Senate Bill 331. The legislation -- initially aimed at blocking cities from passing laws to restrict how pet stores acquire puppies -- grew into an omnibus bill with several provisions.
One of those provisions allows wireless companies free rein to install "small-cell wireless" nodes to structures such as street signs and traffic lights within cities' public rights of way.
Delaware City Council on March 27 approved a resolution to join litigation aimed at challenging the provisions in the bill that address wireless infrastructure. The resolution established $6,000 as the maximum amount the city will contribute to the legal effort.
The suit claims the legislation is a "classic example of logrolling," a term for combining "numerous unrelated topics" into one bill. According to the suit, Senate Bill 331 violates the Ohio Constitution's ban on bills with more than one subject.
Along with wireless infrastructure, the bill contains provisions relating to animal fighting, bestiality and minimum-wage regulations.
"The process by which that legislation was adopted was flawed, in our opinion, and needs to be challenged," Delaware City Manager Tom Homan said.
The suit also claims the bill violates municipalities' right to exercise self-government.
Homan said the lawsuit "really goes to the core of home rule in the state of Ohio and our ability to regulate what occurs in the right of way."
"We're not saying we're opposed to microwireless cell towers," he said. "These are very important ... but the manner in which they're installed is important to us, and it should be."
Homan said no matter what the courts decide, discussions about evolving wireless infrastructure are certain to continue among city, industry and state officials.
"If the lawsuit is successful, you still have this issue of how do you regulate these types of things," he said.
City Attorney Darren Shulman said Delaware's administration may return to council at some point to request additional funding for the lawsuit.
Delaware joins Columbus, Dublin, Westerville and dozens of other cities in the litigation. After Delaware's decision to join in funding the suit, Powell remains the lone city with boundaries in Delaware County that has not yet committed to supporting the effort.
"We are not participating at this point," city spokeswoman Megan Canavan said late last month. "City Council has not made a determination yet."
Canavan said the litigation could be a topic of discussion at an upcoming council meeting.