The University Place City Council has directed the Planning Commission to make recommendations regarding the roll out of 5G wireless technology in the form of Small Cell Distributed Network Systems. The City already has regulations for Macro Wireless Facilities, those typically located on tall cell phone towers.
Unlike macro systems that rely on tall towers, facilities on existing buildings and other structures such as water towers on private property, micro-systems (small cell) rely on small antenna located on existing utility poles along public streets. Although macro antenna located on a few tall towers can have a range of several miles, micro antenna only range between 4,000 and 6,000 feet. Yet this tighter network can handle more signals at faster speeds. As few as 12 micro antenna can provide coverage for the entire city.
In 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) developed regulations regarding the siting of Small Cell Distributed Network Systems. It includes statutory requirements related to State and local government review of infrastructure siting applications, while recognizing potential impacts to the environment, historic properties and aesthetics.
The City’s Planning Commission is currently reviewing these statutory requirements and best practices to protect the environment and U.P.’s community aesthetics. Proposed regulations include application and permit processing, modification of existing facilities and design standards for different types of antenna, antenna locations and ancillary equipment.
For more information, please contact Planning and Development Services Director David Swindale. Proposed draft regulations will be posted on the City’s Website soon.