Cell Tower Concerns (5G)
Recently, HRCA has received applications from various providers to update 5G coverage of the future. In order for this to happen, numerous small cell tower sites will need to erected. The Design Review Committee and Board of Directors have strong concerns about the proposed residential locations and the number of cell sites that are being proposed. The safety of HRCA residents and protection of their property values is paramount to HRCA officials. Final approval /denial of the proposed cell sites will reside with the Douglas County Planning Department.
5G Tower Proposal | Douglas County 5G Letter of Request from HRCA
Homeowners are encouraged to stay informed by viewing agendas and minutes of Development Review Committees meetings.
5G Small Cell Tower Facts
What is a Small Cell/5G Facility?
- Small cell facilities are antennas and accessory equipment that provide wireless cellular and data coverage.
- They are in addition to existing large cell tower sites.
- There are small cell sites in Highlands Ranch already, most on top of existing streetlights, a few on buildings.
- They are intended to provide fill-in coverage for high-use or poor coverage areas
- “5G ready”, meaning they are built and installed in a manner that will enable the future functionality of integrated infrastructure of buildings, transport, utilities, etc., that 5G connectivity promises.
- Small cell sites are typically installed on existing streetlights or other utility poles and, per state law, are allowed in public rights-of-way.
- 5G capability will require a very large number of small cell sites, which has prompted a high level of interest from cities and towns because of the sheer number that will be proposed by the wireless carriers.
What is HRCA’s role in Small Cell/5G in Highlands Ranch?
Douglas County has the final approval/denial authority in the review of small cell tower applications.
In September 2018, the FCC passed an Order that provides a set of procedures that public entities must follow concerning small cell tower applications. The rule applies to any request for authorization to place, construct, or modify wireless serve facilities, including zoning permits, a building permit, and an architectural or engineering permit. The rule also included “shot clock” to ensure timely reviews are conducted.
Local governments may still evoke aesthetic requirements; however, they are not to be more burdensome than those applied to similar types of infrastructure deployments. The Order considers spacing requirements to be subset of aesthetic requirements and is subject to the same standard.
HRCA has recently asked the Douglas County Commission to amend the “Highlands Ranch Planning & Development Guide” to ensure that safety and aesthetic concerns are properly addressed in small cell tower zoning requirements. Additionally, HRCA has advocated that these reviews be subject to a public review process.
The HRCA Design Review Committee (DRC) is in the process of developing design guidelines for our community that fall within our scope of authority as a “referral entity” to Douglas County. As each application is reviewed, the DRC will provide Douglas County with comments that recommend the approval and/or denial of an application.
In closing, we encourage you to visit the HRCA website HRCA online.org for updated information and public meeting notices concerning 5G small cell tower deployment in our community.