Florida Town Drafts Ordinance To “Pretty Up” 5G Small Cells

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During a March 15 meeting, the Gulf Breeze (FL) City Council voted to unanimously adopt an ordinance regulating small cells in the rights-of-way. The Gulf Breeze News reported that the City’s Land Development Code (LDC) is not consistent with the state’s Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act, so an updated ordinance is required. 

Currently, Gulf Breeze has 45, 5G small cell sites under construction, 24 of which are new poles. Not initially addressing design standards has caused a mix of materials (wooden poles to semi-camouflaged poles), creating aesthetic issues. 

“We have heard the concerns from citizens,” Gulf Breeze City Manager Samantha Abell told Council members, “and we have had AT&T and Verizon [representatives] attend meetings. Based on those discussions, we have asked staff to draft an ordinance.”

The new ordinance states that the design of poles be consistent city-wide with the Community Redevelopment Area Design standards, including that “new poles or towers installed within a public or private right-of-way must be decorative in nature and must consist of a fluted design with a decorative pedestal base.” 

There is a consideration for leeway that would allow staff to waive the standard design requirement if an alternative design would be more aesthetically pleasing within a neighborhood. Lastly, the ordinance encourages co-location, according to the News.

Abell added that the City is acting as a “liaison” between the providers and residents. She has already seen an improvement with providers from a communication standpoint. 

The ordinance is now set for additional action — a second reading and public hearing — scheduled for April 5, reported the News.

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