Another side of the Cellular Facilities proposal

  • Posted on: 2 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Here is the notice sent out by staff at the City's Office of Cable and Franchise Management, giving a different perspective on the items I covered in Next Up at City Council yesterday. Bold emphasis added by me.

On Thursday, December 4, 2008, 2:30 pm at 1221 SW 4th, city staff will be going to Council with the final proposed amendments regarding the manner in which wireless companies may place antennae on utility poles in residential areas, and replace utility poles with taller ones for wireless purposes.

The proposed amendments are designed to balance the need to retain neighborhood character and livability with the expanding need to provide wireless services in neighborhoods. They were developed over the course of two years. Staff conducted three public forums in March, 2008, followed by an online survey in April-May, 2008 (that was responded to by over 900 people, and over 350 individual comments were also received), followed by a citywide public meeting in October, 2008.

In short, staff is proposing to allow antennae on utility poles in residential areas on residential streets only as a last resort - when no other site or combination of sites for antennae is feasible. Even then, staff proposes to reduce the allowed pole replacement height in residential zones, and increase the replacement height allowance in both commercial, employment and industrial zones and on larger arterial streets to encourage placement there instead. In addition, the poles and equipment must be the smallest possible and must be painted to match the color of the pole. Finally, when a taller pole is proposed in a residential area, we will require the wireless carrier to conduct a meeting in coordination with the neighborhood association and provide notice of the meeting in advance.

We have placed several documents on our website to demonstrate and describe what we are proposing. Each document is numbered, titled and described for ease of reference. The document list can be viewed here. Examples of specific documents include:


* A summary of the existing requirements, document #15
* A summary of the proposed requirements, document #20
* A comparison of current and proposed pole replacement heights, document #19
* The proposed contract amendment showing the exact edits to the contract language ("redline"), document #17
* A clean version of the proposed contract amendment, document #18
* A new application checklist the wireless carriers must fill out, document #16
* Several other documents, including the survey instrument, summarized survey results and specific survey results, are also on the website.

We encourage you to review these materials and forward this notice to anyone you know who might be interested.

For more information please contact Melvin Riddick at 503-823-0066 or Melvin.Riddick@ci.portland.or.us. If Melvin is unavailable please contact me using my contact information below. Thank you very much,


David Soloos, Assistant Director
Office of Cable and Franchise Management
City of Portland, Oregon
1120 SW 5th Av, Room 1305
Portland, Oregon 97204
Tel 503.823.5359

To help ensure equal access to City programs, services, and activities the City of Portland will reasonably modify policies/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services to persons with disabilities. Call 503-823-2036 or 503-823-4000 with such requests.

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So to me, perhaps the biggest question is regarding the mechanism and code language by which the City will ensure that siting will "allow antennae on utility poles in residential areas on residential streets only as a last resort - when no other site or combination of sites for antennae is feasible." I look forward to hearing more on that issue on Thursday.