City Council on Nov. 9 discussed contracts with Mobilite and Crown Castle to place small cell technology – “mini cell towers” used to boost cellphone signals – on city property.
One agreement would last 15 years with three automatic approvals totaling 30 years, while the other agreement starts at five years, with automatic approvals totaling 20 years.
City Attorney Lenny Felgin said the city-owned property includes traffic signal infrastructure at intersections and the agreements cover this use “95 percent of the time,” Felgin said.
Councilman Terry Nall asked if the agreement included parks property.
“We don’t have any anticipation of this equipment in our parks,” Felgin said. “If that changes in the future, we’ll probably come back to the council and ask that question at that time.”
The agreements allow structures located within the public way, including utility poles, streetlight poles, lighting fixtures, traffic signal poles, sign posts or other city-owned infrastructure.
Ellen Smith, the attorney for Crown Castle, said she doesn’t think the agreement allows the company to collocate on poles in city parks because the agreement only permits the company to collocate on poles in the public right of way.
“I don’t think that an applicant can come in and blanket the city parks with a bunch of mini cell towers,” Smith said. “That is not the intent of this agreement.”
Smith said Crown Castle plans to put up small cell towers around the mall and in the Perimeter area. “For Crown Castle, we’re talking about maybe 12 poles, generally around the Perimeter Mall area,” Smith said.
Nall said he would prefer to have a uniform agreement for all companies looking to locate small cell technology on city-owned poles. He said he didn’t like having two companies with two agreements.
City Council will discuss the agreements again at its Dec. 14 meeting.