Small Cells Aesthetics Code Defined in San Diego

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Last month, the San Diego County’s Planning Commission approved recommendations on zoning standards for small cell wireless facilities, reported The Californian. “We’re looking at community character and aesthetics concerns,” said Eric Lardy, chief of the Advance Planning Division of the county’s Department of Planning and Development Services (PDS).

Per the FCC regulation on small wireless facilities, PDS created a definition for facilities that states: “each antenna is no more than three cubic feet in volume.”

 PDS proposed a limit of 28 cubic feet for the wireless equipment and any pre-existing associated equipment on a structure. It also enacted a requirement for mounting facilities on new or existing structures in the public right-of-way. It allows such facilities on private property if attached to an existing public utility pole or permitted telecommunication facility.

Regarding fees, permit applicants will pay an issuance fee and place a deposit with PDS to cover inspection costs associated with the permit issuance. The applicant will also pay an annual use, maintenance, and access fee for each facility, according to The Californian.              

PDS’ main focus regarding the small cells is on reducing clutter and promoting co-location. “Once you have a co-location, two instead of one, you reduce the impacts,” said Planning Commissioner Michael Beck.

Additionally, new poles would be 500 feet apart in preferred areas and 1,000 feet apart in non-preferred areas, not applicable to facilities placed on existing buildings or poles. As a next step, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors must approve any changes to the county’s Zoning Ordinance.

August 22, 2019   

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