Small Cell Facility in Right-of-Way (ROW) Permit

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In addition to telecommunications permits for the installation of telecommunications facilities on real property, the Arlington County Code provides for the installation of small cell facilities on existing, privately-owned structures in the public right-of-way. An amendment to Chapter 22 (Street Development and Construction) Section 22-8.2 of the County Code, enacted by the County Board in July 2019, provides for the installation of small cell facilities on County-owned streetlights in the public right-of-way.

See Small Cell Wireless Resources.

Notice to applicants regarding residential zones and conformance to existing engineering standards, September 2021

Notice to applicants regarding Pentagon City, Crystal City, Potomac Yard, updated August 2021.

Before applying for a small cell facility in the public right-of-way (ROW) permit, make sure the proposed installation meets the following criteria:

  • An antenna(s) located inside a proposed facility is/are no more than six (6) cubic feet in volume. (In the case of an antenna with exposed elements, the antenna and all exposed elements can fit within an imaginary enclosure of no more than six (6) cubic feet.)
  • Associated wireless equipment—other than the antenna(s)—limited to a cumulative volume of no more than 28 cubic feet, or such higher limit as is established by the Federal Communications Commission
  • Installation on an existing, privately-owned structure or a County-owned streetlight within the public right-of-way

Process

Process Graphic

NOTE: The below describes the process for all small cell facility in the public right-of-way applications, but the shot clocks described only apply to applications for installations on County-owned streetlights. There are no deadlines associated with installations on private property.

  • DES will review an application for a small cell facility in ROW permit for compliance with Submission Requirements criteria below. DES will notify applicants of either an acceptance or a rejection of permit applications within 10 days of document submission.
  • Upon DES acceptance of a permit application, the applicant will be required to pay the permit application fee and will be directed to submit any additional documents (detailed design plans, Transportation ROW permits, Excavation Permits, etc.) required for full review and approval of the permit within 30 calendar days of acceptance notice.
  • DES will review the permit for approval within 60 days of receipt of the required additional documents and plans. Upon notice in writing from DES, review may be extended for an additional 30-day period, if needed.

Standards

Any small cell facility pole shall comply with the County’s small cell facility standard as in this link. Additionally, any pole design must be approved and submitted for consideration by the carriers that have signed a Master License Agreement with the County. When considering approval of any new design, the County will consider interchangeability of such small cell facility poles with previously approved design. The full engineering calculation packets for each pole design are on file with the County, but are not included here for clarity. The list below includes the designs currently approved for use in the County.

Submission Requirements

  • Small Cell Facility in Right-of-Way Permit Application must be filled out online in Permit Arlington.
    • From the Create drop-down menu in the Permit Arlington system, select Building Application. Then select Small Cell Facility in ROW.
    • View Permit Arlington Help for assistance with the online system.
  • Each structure in the right-of-way being proposed for a small cell facility installation requires a separate application (i.e., one structure per application).
  • Full payment of fees is required after the application is deemed complete and accepted. Online payment via eCheck or credit card is available.
  • The online application requires the following information:
    • Applicant’s name, address, phone number and email
    • Address or location of proposed work
    • Identification of privately-owned or County-owned structure
    • Notice or copy of agreement from structure owner granting permission to co-locate equipment on each existing structure associated with the permit
    • Description of equipment to be attached or installed on the structure
    • Initial document set (described below)
  • Applicants receive their small cell facility in ROW permits by email.

Initial Document Set (10-Day Completeness Check Phase)

The following documents must be submitted as part of the initial Small Cell Facility in ROW permit application. All documents must be named according to their category headers below. NOTE: Your application will not move into the completeness check until the following documents have been submitted:

  • Cover Sheet/ Vicinity Map/ Legend
    • Must include: applicant information, pole ID associated with the application, site information, map of vicinity of site (with the site located on the map) showing all roadways that may be affected by the proposed construction, legend that shows symbols for both existing and proposed facilities, and a description of the scope of work (including pole-, fiber-, and power-related work).
    • Note: A Commonwealth of Virginia professional engineer or land surveyor must seal all engineering plans submitted with the application. This professional seal on the plans indicate that the existing conditions shown on the plans are true and accurate.
    • Vicinity Map Example
    • Legend Example
  • Existing Site Conditions Plan
    • These plans must include limits of the public the right-of-way, manholes, catch basins, sidewalks, curbs, curb cuts, gutters, utility strip and street trees. In addition, all existing traffic signal facilities (e.g., all traffic conduits, traffic cabinets, junction boxes, utility traffic loops and traffic and pedestrian signal poles) must be identified on the plans.
    • Note: the initial submission may be a preliminary schematic, but additional detail will be required when the additional permit applications are submitted, during the permit review phase.
    • Existing Site Conditions Plan Example
  • Proposed Underground Utilities Plan
    • Must include proposed routing/locations of proposed power and fiber lines for the replacement pole.
    • Note: the initial submission may be a preliminary schematic, but additional detail will be required when the additional permit applications are submitted, during the permit review phase.
    • Proposed Underground Utilities Plan Example
  • Pole Elevation Diagram
    • Must reference Arlington County Government streetlight/ pole design standard specifications.
    • Note: the initial submission may be a preliminary schematic, but additional detail will be required when the additional permit applications are submitted, during the permit review phase.
  • Proposed Utilities Road Profile
    • This plan should include both a Cross Section and a Plan View of the roadway. This information will be required if the power and fiber source are coming from a utility pole and if a pole replacement and/or relocation within the right-of-way is required. It’s the permittee’s responsibility to show the existing and the proposed utility facilities and all conduit turn ups/riser.
    • Note: the initial submission may be a preliminary schematic, but additional detail will be required when the additional permit applications are submitted, during the permit review phase.
    • Road Profile Example
  • Construction Notes/Details
    • Detailed description and drawings of all proposed work to be performed. Must include detailed drawings of the pole design, in line with Arlington County’s specifications. Note: Any deviation from the approved engineering design plans during additional permit applications and/or construction must be preapproved by County staff prior to proceeding with work.
    • Drawings must include:
      • Ground Riser Diagram
      • Power Disconnect
      • Radio Frequency Specifications/Details
      • Radio Frequency Signage/Labeling

Additional Documents Required for TROW and Excavation Permits

  • Detailed Existing Conditions Plan
    • Site design engineering plans, which must show: the public right-of-way and all existing public and privately-owned utility facilities, including, but not limited to, water mains, water meters, sanitary and storm sewers, sanitary laterals, electrical, gas mains, telecommunications, manholes, catch basins, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, utility strip and street trees. In addition, all existing traffic signal facilities (e.g., all traffic conduits, traffic cabinets, junction boxes, utility traffic loops and traffic and pedestrian signal poles).
  • Detailed Underground Utilities Plan
    • These must be engineering plan views showing all utilities and structures shown in the Existing Site Utilities Plan AND the proposed fiber line/conduits, power line/ conduits, power and fiber sources that is going to provide services to the proposed SWF such as poles, transformers, handholes, manholes and meter pedestals.
    • The proposed design of the facilities must comply with Arlington County Guidelines for Installing Underground Utilities Near Trees.
  • Detailed Utilities Depth Profile
    • Vertical profiles showing the actual vertical locations and clearances of all existing and proposed utilities shown in the proposed utilities design plan.
    • Depths along the locations of all proposed and existing utilities.
    • It’s the permittee’s responsibility to locate, identify and resolve all potential conflicts with existing utilities in the right of way prior to the submission of engineering plans. All utility conflicts must be highlighted and addressed by the applicant’s engineer and any service drops noted. Utility crossings with existing facilities that don’t have pro le information must be “test-holed,” with the results provided to the County. A minimum clearance of 5 feet horizontal and 12 inches vertical between the proposed underground facility and the existing wet utility facility will be required.
  • Traffic Control and Traffic Maintenance Plans

Additional Information

  • DES will review an application for a small cell facility in ROW permit for completion and notify the applicant within 10 days of filing if any elements are missing. DES will approve or deny the permit within 60 days but may extend this 60-day period in writing for an additional 30 days.
  • Upon acceptance, DES will notify the applicant of any additional permits required to be submitted concurrently with the small cell facility in ROW permit.

Fees

Fee Schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for the Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.

A $250 permit application fee will be assessed per application, as allowed by Section 22-8.2 of the County Code. This fee must be paid following the 10-Day completeness check phase, prior to the 60-Day permit review phase. For information on fees associated with any additional permits, please refer to the Arlington County Permit Fee Schedules.

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