Reviewing Cell Tower Applications
- The number of cell towers climbed from 175,000 to 260,000 in 2010 -- an increase of 48%.
- Many carriers are adding additional sites in urban areas to provide infill areas of weak coverage. Some experts believe that only 35% of the necessary sites have been built.
- New data services require sites to be closer together to provide ubiquitous coverage. Since new areas will need new coverage, we are seeing anecdotal evidence that a rewrite of currently antiquated ordinances will be necessary.
It's no wonder so many municipalities are experiencing an onslaught of zoning applications or permit request for new cell sites. The carriers need to add sites in previously unavailable areas to provide consistent coverage, specifically in denser residential areas where opposition from community members will be high.
These applications will be based on your current cell tower zoning code requirements, which, more than likely, will require a determination of the technical adequacy of the application.
- Does the carrier sufficiently demonstrate "need?"
- Has the carrier evaluated all possible alternatives?
The answers to these questions can't be determined simply by looking at your zoning map and asking the carrier to indicate where they are reviewing existing sites. In most cases, the cell site maps maintained by the municipality are woefully inaccurate. If you can't determine where existing infrastructure is, how can you know if the proposed structures are needed? How can the average city planner or board member understand if the carrier has shown sufficient radio frequency evidence of need for a new site if they have no formal training in radio frequency propagation?
Cell Tower Zoning Experts
Steel in the Air, Inc. has teamed up with Cityscape Consultants to offer municipalities an engineering review of proposed cell sites. Collectively, we can provide you with Existing Cell Tower and Cell Site Location data and substantive review of the proficiency of any zoning application for a wireless communication facility. Cityscape's president, Rick Edwards, is an expert in radio frequency propagation and municipal regulatory issues. He's authored countless wireless facility ordinances and is widely renowned and highly regarded.
Often times, the fee for these reviews can be transferred to the carrier making the application. Together with Cityscape Consultants, we can answer you and your constituents' questions. We can also help shield you from litigation and appeals by establishing a sufficient record that meets the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its subsequent defining case law.
Contact us for more details.