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Small Cell Towers

Additional Information Regarding Agenda Item No. 16-275

The City of Milton would like to bring the following resolution to the attention of our residents. On Monday, November 21, 2016, the Milton City Council will consider the following under New Business:

“Consideration of a Resolution to Approve Mobilitie, LLC’s Application for Utilization of the Public Rights of Way of the City of Milton for Telecommunication Facilities, as Authorized by Law. (Agenda Item No. 16-275) (Discussed at November 14, 2016 Work Session) (Ken Jarrard, City Attorney).”

While we’ve posted the Council Session Agenda and distributed the Agenda electronically via the Milton newsletter and Facebook, we believe it is important to share additional information with our residents regarding this resolution and the application for installation of what is referred to as a “small cell tower.”

These towers, authorized by state law O.C.G.A. § 46-5-1(a)(1), are intended to help address gaps in service areas for telecommunications companies. Georgia law allows for the installation of these towers in the right of way.

While a city cannot prohibit a telecommunication company from operating in the right of way, state law O.C.G.A. § 46-5-1(b)(17) notes that a city maintains the authority to require these companies to obtain permits and comply with reasonable regulations.

Why does this matter?

As you can see from the formal site plans submitted by Mobilitie, this type of tower differs from the cell towers most residents are accustomed to seeing—it is tall and narrow in design (see examples below). While the design is narrow and generally less bulky near the top of the pole as compared to traditional towers, these small cell towers are installed more prominently in the right of way instead of positioned further back off the road and often installed on property among tree covered areas.

Examples of Small Cell Towers

Note: These photographic examples are intended for design reference and look-and-feel purposes only; they are not poles erected by Mobilitie or exact design replicas associated with the Mobilitie application. The full Mobilitie application including site plans and design specifications are available here.

What is the location for this tower?

The tower application submitted indicates installation on the northbound side of Morris Road located just south of Webb Road and Deerfield Avenue. View the map and street view images submitted as part of Mobilitie’s application here.

What will the tower look like?

The submitted plans indicate a wooden pole measuring 78’10” in total aboveground height.

How does this compare to other utility poles in that same area?

With most utility lines buried on this stretch of Morris Road, the Mobilitie pole will be roughly double the size of the streetlights, but 2/3 the size of the large metal transmission lines.

Click on this Google street view to see both a Morris Road streetlight and a transmission line.

What control does Milton have over this installation?

Since state law authorizes telecommunication companies to use the right of way for this purpose, the City of Milton cannot prevent this type of land use in the right of way. However, the City of Milton can work to ensure that all city permitting requirements are adhered to and that the installation meets all safety requirements and safety standards.