Small Cell Facilities - Wireless Communications
Small cell facilities and the technology they bring are arriving in Arvada. Small cells are installed and operated by private providers including: Verizon, AT&T, and Zayo on behalf of Sprint to continually improve and expand their network capacity and coverage. Legally, the City of Arvada cannot restrict the installation of the small cell sites. It is required by federal and state law that cities allow small cell facilities, like other utilities in the public right-of-way, which could include tree lawns next to streets and sidewalks. Small cell facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas. These supplement the larger cellular network and improves service for wireless customers.
The City does have the opportunity to oversee and give input on the installation of the sites, which it will do by entering into Individual Master License agreements with each provider. Once the agreement is reviewed and signed by City Council, then the provider is able to apply for permits for specific locations. Each small cell permit is reviewed by City staff for compliance of City adopted design guidelines.
Initially the facilities will meet current 4G technology, but will evolve to provide future 5G services and technology changes. If you would like to learn more about the safety of the facilities, visit FCC-Safety.
Overall, if you have questions or would like to learn more email the Planning Department or call 720-898-7435.
- Can the City of Arvada keep small cell facilities out of the public right of way?
No, just like other utilities per federal and state laws, small cell facilities are allowed in the public right of way.
- What do small cell facilities do?
Small cell facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas, supplementing the larger cellular network and improving service for wireless customers. They are installed and operated by private companies. Small cell equipment meets current 4G (LTE) voice and data demands and city staff understands it will be modified with future 5G higher speed equipment as technology changes.
- Can small cell facilities to be placed on existing lamp posts, traffic signals, etc.?
To minimize the number of poles within the right-of-way, it is the city’s first priority to have small cells co-locate with existing facilities (such as Xcel street lights). However, the existing poles do not have the structural capacity to handle the weight of small cell equipment and will need to be replaced with larger dual purpose poles. In instances where existing pole locations will not work, new poles may be added.
- Will my cell service be better once small cell facilities are installed?
The industry’s intent for deploying small cell facilities is to improve its reliability and coverage. Each site is usually connected to a specific provider.
- What are the public health impacts?
To learn more about public health in relation to radio frequency (RF) radiation visit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. For more information, email the City of Arvada Planning Department or call 720.898.7435.
- What is the height and coverage of a small cell pole?
Small cell poles are up to 40 feet tall and typically cover 1,500 feet.
As wireless providers, infrastructure owners or similar entities begin to consider deployment of new small cell networks within Arvada, the first step in that process shall be the execution of a Master License Agreement with the City of Arvada. This agreement shall provide the overall framework for network deployment, permit approvals, and facility installations throughout the City. If no Master License Agreement (MLA) has been completed, please contact our planning division at 720-898-7435 to get started.
Once the Master License Agreement has been completed, you can schedule a pre-submittal meeting with the planning team to go over the proposed sites. This meeting is not required, but we strongly suggest the meeting to help streamline your permit submittals. Please call 720-898-7435 to schedule a meeting.
Small Cell permits include permits for Building and right-of-way access. Your submittal must include all of the required documents listed in the following, if documents are missing, we will not accept your application. Each provider can submit permit applications in sets no greater than 10 applications at one time.
All applications are completed online through our permitting system, Arvada Permits. You will be required to upload your submittal documents at time of application. If documents are not attached, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. We don't want to deny applications, so make sure to read the following for application information.
When submitting the permits using eTRAKiT, please use SMALL CELL as the address. The City of Arvada will assign the address to the site after applications have been submitted.
Utilize the eTRAKIT Application.
Once an application has been accepted, staff review comments will be completed within 15 business days. Additional reviews by staff may be required depending on the location of the submittal and the application.
Applications must include the following required documents. Depending on proposed location, additional documents may be required. Please download the Required Document Checklist (PDF) for complete information.
Fees for this permit type are for multiple processes. Each permit will pay fees for Right-of-Way, Building, and Planning. It is important to include your small cell worksheet in your application documents. The following is a list of permit fees that will be charged on your permits. You can get an estimate on your fees at Arvada Permits. Please be aware that additional fees may apply and will be identified through the permitting process.
Fees for Small Cells
|Building Permit Fee (Table 18-1)
Once City staff has reviewed and approved your application, the permit status will be updated to "approved" and the applicant will receive an automatic email. The applicant will then be required to pay all fees before the permit is issued.
For meter releases- The City of Arvada releases inspection information to Xcel Energy the day after the inspection is approved. Applicants are responsible for contacting Xcel Energy to complete the setup of the meter.
Inspections are completed daily, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm. All inspections must be scheduled through Arvada Permits. The applicant must schedule a final electrical inspection to receive a meter release from Xcel. If there is work (i.e. concrete, boring, pothole (test holes)) completed in the right-of-way, inspections must be scheduled and completed daily.
Once the required inspections are completed with a final result, the permit will be finaled and considered closed. An email with the results and notice of permit closer will be sent to the email that is on file. Inspection results and permit status can always be reviewed online at Arvada Permits or by calling the automated inspection line at 720-898-7630.