Town Council Delays “Franchise Agreement” on Small Cells

The town of Culpeper is poised to enter into a franchise agreement with Mobilitie to erect a 50-foot-tall single wooden utility pole with one antenna behind a shopping center, but several property owners and residents are opposed to the project, reported the Culpeper Star Exponent.

Property owners cite concerns over the pole being in the “field of vision…right in the middle of the shopping center.” Town Councilman Keith Price worried that approving this project would lead to multiple poles all over town. Additionally, resident Elizabeth Davis said of the proposed tower, “It looks like a giant pencil sticking out of the ground.”

Mobilitie is seeking to place the pole in the public right-of-way – as permitted by state law – to boost existing 4G technology and pave the way for 5G. Per the proposed franchise agreement, companies will pay the town a one-time fee of $1,500 plus $12 per linear foot per year (i.e, $600 for a 50-foot pole) to locate small cell equipment in the right-of-way. 

Culpeper town Attorney Martin Crim recommended the town council approve the project, saying Culpeper was on shaky legal ground otherwise. Crim noted that the town could not deny the franchise agreement based on aesthetics alone in areas outside of the historic district, reported the Exponent.

The town council voted to delay action on the request, pending a complete presentation at the committee level.

April 13, 2018         

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