Pole attachments for small cell wireless infrastructure just got easier. The FCC’s rule change to exempt some poles from historic preservation review took effect yesterday, January 16. Federal Register publication triggered the effective date.
Specifically, the telecom provider is exempt from the review when a
pole is replaced with a substantially identical pole, the original pole
is not historic and the replacement does not disturb new ground. The
replacement must be consistent with other size, location, and appearance
restrictions. The changes also take into account when a wooden pole is
replaced with metal.
“Replacement poles placed in essentially the same previously
disturbed locations as the original structures will be sturdier than the
preexisting poles, but will not necessarily be substantially taller or
occupy appreciably more space on or in the ground than the original
poles. In those circumstances, there is no likelihood that such pole
replacements could affect historic properties,” states the FCC in the
rule change document.
Still, under the previous rules, only replacements for poles meeting
the definition of a ‘‘tower’’ were excluded from Section 106 assessment
while other types of pole replacements continued to require review. Continue Reading