Anacortes council approves new cell regulations

February 28, 2019

ANACORTES — The Anacortes City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve revisions to the city’s code on cellular infrastructure.

The code amendments are in response to requests from telecommunications companies to install new cell technology, City Attorney Darcy Swetnam said.

Rather than rely only on traditional cell towers, telecommunications companies are moving toward small cell technology — a small box usually mounted on existing utility poles or street lights.

Under the new city code, telecommunications companies will be able to install small cell boxes without a public comment process.

However, a public permitting process is required if companies want to install a new pole or want to install a small cell box along a city road.

Swetnam said the companies would be required to respect the aesthetics of the neighborhood when possible when installing these boxes.

In August 2017, the City Council issued a six-month moratorium on new cellular infrastructure in order to give the city time to work on regulations that account for small-cell infrastructure.

After two six-month extensions, the moratorium was set to expire Wednesday.

The city Planning Commission evaluated the new code during several meetings in January, and ultimately passed its recommendation along to the City Council.