Draft Small Cell Guidelines and Public Space Committee meeting

Posted on February 2nd, 2019 by Elizabeth Nelson

DDOT’s Public Space Committee will address these at two public hearings, the regular meeting to be held Friday, March 15, 2019, 5 pm and a special meeting, Thursday, March 21, 2019, 1 pm. Written comments due by March 15 at 5 pm. The most recent version (2-1-2019) of the draft Small Cell Guidelines Small Cell Design Guidelines –  released by DDOT Public Space Committee, Friday, February 1, 2019 – DDOT Small Cell Page

 

Attached please find the most recent version of the draft Small Cell Guidelines and a letter providing a general overview of the steps taken since publication of the first draft, information on the Public Space Committee meeting where this version of the Small Cell Guidelines will be considered, as well as how to provide comment for the record.  This information is also repeated below.

The Draft Small Cell Design Guidelines contain supplemental requirements and specifications for the placement and design of Small Cell infrastructure within the public right of way. The guidelines are supplemental to a number of local and federal regulations and fit within the broad parameters established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The guidelines are intended to meet the needs for Small Cell technology deployment while preserving the distinct character of the District and protecting accessibility in the public space.

In creating these draft guidelines, we sought to be transparent about the process and to provide opportunities for public input. The process began in 2017 with the Notice of Availability of Master License Agreements and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hosting three open meetings in November and December of 2017 and in April 2018. More broadly, an initial public meeting to describe the permitting process for installing small cell facilities was held in May 2018.

After the publication of the initial Draft Small Cell Guidelines in August of 2018, DDOT held two public meetings on them on September 6, 2018 and September 25, 2018 and the Public Space Committee held a public meeting on them on October 15th, 2018.  This public meeting had more than 40 people submit comments both in writing and in person and lasted for more than eight hours.  In November 2018, DDOT Director Jeff Marootian attended and testified at a Public Roundtable before the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment on small cell technology in Washington, DC.

This publication of an updated Draft Small Cell Design Guidelines is a reflection of the robust public input process and contains several significant changes. Throughout the public engagement process, it was clear that the initial density would not adequately protect the unique character of the District. Therefore, the most significant change is a 50 percent reduction in the allowable density of small cell installations per block face. Also of note, the appearance of new standalone poles and ground level cabinetry require further collaboration to create a more uniform standard. At the request of Councilmember Mary Cheh, DDOT is facilitating a design process to create a more uniform aesthetic standard in coordination with the Commission of Fine Arts, The National Capital Planning Commission, and the Office of Planning, and community stakeholders. This work will be ongoing and will be published for public comment later in 2019. It was clear through the public input process that this work cannot be rushed and in response DDOT will continue to take an iterative and transparent approach.

The Public Space Committee will hold a second meeting to consider these updated Draft Small Cell Guidelines on March 21, 2019, at 1 pm. at 1100 4th Street SW, Room 200, 2nd Floor Hearing Room.

Comments on these guidelines should be provided via email to PublicSpace.Committee@dc.gov.  In the subject line please include the title: Small Cell Guideline Comments.  Comments may also be mailed to the Public Space Committee, c/o DDOT Public Space Permit Office, 1100 4th St SW, Room 360, Washington DC, 20024.  On the outside of the envelope please note that it includes comments on the Small Cell Guidelines.

These comments will be collected and presented to the Public Space Committee (PSC) at a special meeting it is convening to consider these guidelines.

The deadline to provide written comments in advance of the PSC meeting is 5 pm on Friday, March 15, 2019.  Written comments and direct testimony may be presented at the meeting to the PSC.  PSC meetings are open to the public and the PSC welcomes testimony from all parties.  If you are interested in commenting at the PSC meeting please contact the PSC staff through the same email address: PublicSpace.Committee@dc.gov.

Notice regarding the Public Space Committee meeting on March 21st has been published in the DC Register online: https://dcregs.dc.gov/Common/DCR/SearchIssues.aspx?AgencyID=1

CHRS