Updated Small Cell Guidelines Effective November 2021!
Please read new updates to the Small Cell Standards and Specifications updated November 2021
New transaction fee for online debit/credit card charges
The City of Fort Collins has a new credit card processing company. As of August 1, 2021, a new debit/credit card transaction fee will be charged for all transactions processed with the Development Review Center. Please refer to the linked document below.
- Identify existing public assets (light and traffic poles, etc.)
- Locate projects
Small Cell Infrastructure Permit for Co-locate and Freestanding
Below you can find our existing documentation:
- Streetscape Standards (site distance triangle)
- Luminaire Standard
- Pole Color and Form Standard
Schedule a Pole Removal
Only reserve a time if you have received a power plan from Fort Collins Light & Power and if you have acquired a Excavation Permit & Building Permit.
Any applicable pre-application requirement listed below must be submitted with this application.
- The applicant must obtain the necessary permits and approvals from the entity which owns or has jurisdiction over, public or private easements, railroad right-of-way, irrigation ditch, unincorporated land, and/or State of Colorado right-of-way. Submission of the executed permits and approvals are a pre-application requirement.
- If the small cell communications facility project will require work within the roadway a City Traffic Control Permit shall be required and must be applied for through the Traffic Department prior to construction. More information can be found by visiting, fcgov.com/traffic/watc.php
- If a small cell communications facility project anticipates the use of a public street in connection with the maintenance, erection, construction, or for any reason not listed, a City Parking Obstruction Permit will be required and must be applied for through the Parking Services Department. More information can be found by visiting, fcgov.com/parking/obstructionpermits.php
- Applicant seeking collocation must contact City Electric Utility (L&P) Department and/or City Traffic Department PRIOR to application submission to coordinate structural assessment and determine if structural strengths of subject City structures are sufficient for the proposed attachment(s).
 Collocation means mounting or installing an antenna facility on a pre-existing structure, and/or modifying a structure for the purpose of mounting or installing an antenna facility on that structure.
- Each licensee under a wireless network master license agreement from the City may apply for up to 5 pole or attachment locations, per week, including all applications filed by contractors or agents of such license. This condition will allow City staff to provide its customers adequate review of their applications to ensure they are complete and meet City requirements.
- An application is required for each individual location requested.
- Applications are to be submitted on Mondays by 12:00PM, MST to firstname.lastname@example.org for initial routing & review; applications submitted to other emails will not be Notice of complete or incomplete applications will be sent through email by end of business on Wednesday of the following week.
- 60 working days for approval of communications facility (CF) attachment(s) on existing pole(s), 90 working days for approval of new CF pole location(s).
- Unless applications for collocation (i.e. attaching a CF to any existing support structure such as a utility pole or a building) are filed separately from applications for New CF Pole location(s), the 90-working day approval process applies to any combined multi-site application.
- Application must include all submittal requirements as outlined in Chapter 23, Article VII of the Fort Collins Municipal Code, § 23-177, and demonstrate compliance with Divisions 3.8.13 and 3.9.9 of the Fort Collins Code, the requirements of all are incorporated by this reference.
- Application must include all submittal requirements as outlined in city Small Cell Design Guidelines.
- All work in a Public Highway/City ROW must be performed by licensed, bonded, and insured contractors through the Engineering Department and any other applicable departments. Any work performed by unlicensed contractors or without a valid Permit will be removed at the expense of the Permittee/Applicant/Owner and may incur penalties under the Fort Collins Municipal Code.
- Permits will be valid for a period of one (1) year from approval. A one (1) year extension will be granted upon request. If an extension expires, applicants will be required to submit a new application and have the site reviewed again.
- All fees are to be submitted at the time of application submission. See Payments section below for more information.
- All fees are to be submitted at the time of application submission. Application submittals absent of fees will not be reviewed by the City and will be deemed incomplete.
- Engineering will be accepting credit card payments for Small Cell applications by calling 970-416-2740 Mon-Thurs 9am - 4pm. Please have your pole ID number available when calling in payments.
- Checks are also accepted for small cell applications at the time of submittal.
- All fees are non-refundable after application submission.
- New pole construction or existing pole replacement: $2,120.00 per pole.
- Replacement of existing pole attachments: $500.00 up to five (5) CF attachments, $100.00 for each additional attachment after five (5).
- Encroachment Permit Amendment Fee: $100 per attachment change.
- If an application is deemed incomplete twice (2-times) or resubmitted after the initial 60 or 90 day review period, the applicant will be required to reapply with a new application and fee on the third submittal. If an application is denied at the end of a review period (60 or 90 day) and the applicant resubmits at the same location a new application fee will be required.
Annual Lease Payment#
- Encroachment Permit Yearly Renewal Fee: $270 per attachment or new pole installation, unless MLA specifies otherwise
- Lease payments will be invoiced yearly in January of each year. Payment will be submitted to:
City of Fort Collins Engineering Department
281 N College Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80524
- Payable by check only
Utilities and Electric Meter#
All fees and payments for Utility and Electric service shall be payable to City of Fort Collins, mailed to:
- Finance Dept.
City of Fort Collins
PO Box 580
Fort Collins, CO 80522-0580
Mailing must reference "Small Cell" and project location or number.
Small Cell FAQs#
What are small cells?#
Small cells are low-powered antennas installed and operated by private telecommunications providers. Small cells supplement larger cellular networks and improve cellular coverage in small geographic areas. Initially, small cells will meet 4G LTE demands, and later meet 5G demands as technology changes.
Why is a small cell being installed in my neighborhood?#
Private telecommunications providers have identified your area as a higher demand area for mobile coverage. The small cell will provide increased wireless coverage in your area.
Where will small cells be located?#
Small cells will primarily be located within the public right-of-way. This is because Colorado State Statues state that telecommunications providers have the right to locate small cell facilities on light poles, traffic signals, or utility poles in the public right-of-way.
What can the City do about placement near my home?#
Telecommunications companies are considered a public utility according to state law. These companies have the right to install their equipment in the public right of way. The City has very limited legal authority to deny a small cell installation, and where we have the most authority is on the basis of aesthetics.
Therefore, the City is working with the telecoms to ensure small cells are collocated on existing streetlights and traffic signals – meaning installation of new poles will be minimized as much as technologically feasible. In areas where this collocation is not possible, the City will work with the telecoms to ensure small cells resemble existing poles in the right of way as much as technologically feasible.
The United States Congress has delegated the regulation of radio frequency emissions strictly to the FCC, and small cells must meet the RF emissions standards that the FCC has in place. The City cannot deny permit applications based on RF emissions, but we do ask that telecom companies provide documentation showing that they are in compliance with the FCC’s standards before we approve a small cell permit application.
What authority does the City have to regulate telecommunications equipment?#
Both federal and state laws limit the City’s legal authority over the placement of telecommunications equipment. Beyond the design standards, the City can regulate based on the aesthetic values of public places, compatibility with the City’s traffic and utility infrastructure, pedestrian and vehicle safety, preservation of historic areas, and placement adjacent to public trees. The City cannot prevent cellular companies from installing small cells in the public right-of way.
Health effects of radiofrequency emissions from wireless technology.#
Radio frequency emissions are a common concern and are regulated by the Federal Government, not the City. There is a federal statute found in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which prevents states and localities from regulating wireless facilities on the basis of the health or environmental effects of RF emissions. The statute and the case law interpreting it give sole authority for regulating in this area to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Local governments can do little more than require wireless companies to certify that they will comply with the federal regulations for RF emissions.
What steps has the City taken regarding small cell deployment?#
The City has developed a Master License Agreement (MLA) for companies installing small cells. The MLA establishes the process by which small cell permit applications will be approved by the City, sets the terms and conditions for the operation and maintenance of the small cell installations, and sets general aesthetic requirements for the small cells.
In addition, the City has published our small cell design standards, on this site, which requires all small cell equipment to be housed within the small cell pole with very limited exceptions. The standards also require poles to resemble the adjacent poles within the right of way, meaning the height, diameter, finish, and style will be as close as technologically feasible as the surrounding poles.
What is 5G?#
5G stands for 5th Generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 4G networks, which provide connectivity to most current cellphones. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.
FCC Small Cell / Wireless Telecom Resources#
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