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Brecksville establishes regulations for state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment

September 25, 2018

Brecksville establishes regulations for state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- Service lines for state-of-the-art telecommunications devices, known as “small-cell” equipment, must run underground in residential subdivisions where other utility lines are already underground.

Above-ground wires, cables, connections and conduits are mostly prohibited, under new small-cell regulations recently passed by City Council.

Small-cell equipment mounted on the ground cannot exceed 3½ feet in height and must be hidden by “evergreen plant material,” according to the regulations. Equipment placed on existing utility poles cannot increase the height of the pole by more than 5 feet.

Brecksville is the latest city along Ohio 82 in Cuyahoga County to pass legislation regulating small-cell equipment installed on public rights-of-way and tree lawns.

Small-cell cabinets are replacing cell towers, which can reach 100 feet tall. Communities such as Brecksville have long prohibited cell towers in municipal rights-of-way.

However, a relatively new state law allows small-cell equipment in the right-of-way. Municipalities are permitted to regulate the equipment within the confines of the state law.

Strongsville, North Royalton and Broadview Heights have also approved regulations for small-cell equipment.

Among the listed intents of the Brecksville ordinance is to help wireless communications companies install small-cell equipment “quickly, effectively and efficiently” so that businesses and residents can benefit from cell-phone service.

Another intent is to “preserve the character of the city by minimizing the potentially adverse visual impact of small-cell facilities and wireless support structures through careful design, siting, landscaping and camouflaging techniques.”

According to the ordinance, small-cell antennas must fit inside an enclosure no larger than 6 cubit feet. Additional wireless equipment associated with antenna enclosure, along with the enclose, cannot exceed a total of 28 cubic feet.

Here are a few more highlights from Brecksville’s small-cell ordinance:

Any company wanting to install small-cell equipment must receive a city permit.Companies are encouraged, but not required, to place small-cell equipment on existing support structures, including poles and buildings, instead of constructing new support structures in the right-of-way.Small-cell equipment cannot create unsafe conditions for the public or interfere with the city’s legal use of the right-of-way.Signs and lights are not permitted on small-cell equipment.New utility poles or structures, if needed, must line up with trees and poles already in the right-of-way.New utility poles or structures and ground-mounted equipment can’t stand less than 2 feet from the street or sidewalk and must stand at least 6 feet from any other permanent object.New poles and antennas cannot exceed 40 feet in height. They cannot be placed fewer than 40 feet from any residential property line.Small-cell equipment placed on existing buildings should match and or complement the building in materials, color, size, proportion, style and quality.

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