Small Cell Wireless Facilities: You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Source: Crown Castle

Source: Crown Castle

Given our increasing daily use of wireless communication and a recent law passed by the Colorado Legislature, the City of Lone Tree and neighboring municipalities will be allowing the installation of small cell wireless facilities in the area. Here are the most common FAQs to help you better understand any impact it may have to your community.

Q: What is a small cell wireless facility?

A: A small cell wireless facility is part of a larger network that provides cellular service to smartphones, tablets and other cellular devices. The facilities are called “small cell” because they provide low-powered signals to complement a larger cellular network. They have a shorter range and use smaller equipment than larger cellular towers.

Q: What are the benefits of small cell facilities in our community?

A: Small cell facilities are critical to faster and more consistent connectivity. The demand for cellular service is increasing exponentially as people become more dependent upon high-quality cellular service for personal, business and public safety communications, as well as for entertainment.

Q: Where can service providers install these facilities?

A: In 2017, the Colorado state legislature passed a law requiring cities to allow construction of small cell facilities in the City’s right of way (ROW). The ROW is a City-owned strip of land that includes the street, sidewalk and oftentimes a few feet beyond the sidewalk.

Q: Can the City prohibit small cell facilities in City-owned right of way?

A: No. The 2017 state law requires the City to accommodate these facilities in the ROW.

Q: Can the City determine the number, size or design of these facilities?

A: Under current state and federal law, the City has limited ability to regulate these facilities. For example, the City of Lone Tree’s ordinance limits the distance (600 feet) between new facilities, the height (40 feet) and the color.

Q: What will they look like?

A: The City is working with providers to install free-standing poles with a limited profile or poles designed to be integrated with street lights. To date, all proposals have been for 30-foot free-standing poles. The poles are either black or green, depending on the colors of street light or traffic signal poles in the immediate neighborhood.

Q: Can the City consider the effect on property values?

A: No. Because of state and federal regulations, the City cannot consider the effect a new wireless installation may have on adjacent property values. 

Still have questions? Contact the City Manager’s Office or Public Works Department at 303-708-1818.

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