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Wireless Communications (Small Cell Facilities)

In recent years, Small Cell Facilities have been introduced throughout the world. Small Cell Facilities are used in wireless communications networks that consist of low-powered cellular radio nodes and antennas that boost capacity, coverage and overall quality of service in wireless networks while reducing the need for large macro cellular sites (i.e. cell towers). While some people would not consider this infrastructure to be “small,” it is smaller than the equipment that one usually finds on traditional cell towers.
   
In June 2017, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 17-1193, concerning the installation of Small Cell Facilities within a local government’s jurisdiction. The statute provides wireless service providers the right to install the nodes and antennas required to deploy Small Cell Facilities within the public rights of way owned by the city of Aurora in any planning zone (zones as defined by the city's Unified Development Ordinance). While Aurora is required by state law to allow such infrastructure in any zone district, the city still retains the authority to address issues related to the design standards and exact siting location of Small Cell Facilities. At the same time, Aurora is prohibited under federal law from imposing any requirement that would have the effect of prohibiting a company from providing wireless service. 
 
Various companies are working with the city and requesting access to locate, install and maintain Small Cell Facilities within public rights of way. Small Cell Facilities may be placed on existing or replacement light poles, traffic signal poles, utility poles, or installation of new, stand-alone poles within public rights of way. 

The city of Aurora has developed a Wireless Communications Facilities (Small Cell) Licensing Program Standard Operating Procedures guide for submitting small cell applications, requesting permits and location installation. That information is available to provide equitable, fair and efficient direction for installation of Small Cell Facilities within the public right of way.

The city of Aurora is currently working with Crown Castle, Verizon, Zayo, AT&T and Mobilitie. The city requires approval of a Wireless Communications Facilities Master License Agreement and individual Supplemental Site Licenses for installation of Small Cell Facilities within the public rights of way.

Adjacent property owner notification must occur for all lots abutting and across from the installation of Small Cell Facilities within 200 feet.

For questions, contact the city’s Public Works Department at 303.739.7300 or email publicworks@auroragov.org.

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