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Overview

Small wireless facilities and the technology it brings is arriving to Anne Arundel County. Small wireless facilities are installed and operated by private providers. Anne Arundel County is required by federal law to allow small wireless facilities in the County maintained rights-of-way.
 
Small wireless facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas. This supplements the larger cellular network and improves service for wireless customers.

Regulatory Framework

Bill 75-19 and Bill 76-19 provide Anne Arundel County the ability to review and authorize the placement of wireless facilities in the County maintained rights-of-way. These sections of the Anne Arundel County Code create a mechanism to place qualifying wireless facilities and support structures within the County maintained rights-of-way. Furthermore, the County developed aesthetic, technical, and safety requirements that are explained in the Anne Arundel County Guide to Technical and Aesthetic Standards for Small Cell Siting. Anne Arundel County also established processes, checklists, forms, and workflows, to ensure that the time frames and requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are met. Anne Arundel County retains the right to enlist a third-party company to assist with the intake and processing of applications for small cell facilities.

Process and Workflow

Anne Arundel County’s Department of Public Works will identify the process needs that must be satisfied in the administration of wireless telecommunication permits for small wireless facilities in County maintained rights-of-way. The procedural steps are subject to applicable laws and regulations including design standards, County Code, FCC's time frames, and requirements established by the Anne Arundel County Code.

The permit application will be processed in accordance with the timelines established by the FCC:

1. Completeness Determination Period: Application Review and Initial Technical Review by Right-of-Way permit office.

     - Notice of incompleteness or approval will be provided within 10 days from date of application submission, unless an extension was mutually agreed upon prior to review.

     - If the application is deemed to be materially incomplete Anne Arundel County may reject the application and provide a written denial of the application.

2. Supplementary Material Submission Period: Applicant Response and/or Revisions

3. Revised Application Review Period: Rights-of-Way Permit Office

     - Anne Arundel County has up to 10 business days* to respond to the applicant's submission of supplemental material. An incomplete application can be resubmitted with supplemental material up to three times. The County will deny the permit on the basis of application incompleteness after a third submission of inadequate material.

4. Application Issuance

    - All contractors working on behalf of the permittee in the County's right-of-way must be registered with the County. You can register by calling (410) 222-7344.

    - All work performed on an issued permit must be reported to the county. For more information to set up your account for reporting work, call (410) 222-7344.

Times for applicant responses or other actions on application after the notice of incompleteness will be tolled in accordance with applicable Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation. Therefore, the time spent by the County's Rights-of-Way Permitting office reviewing the application is the only time considered under the shot clock as outlined by the FCC.

NOTE: If the supplementary material provided by the applicant does not satisfy the County's completeness requirements (considering the overall application and all supplementary materials submitted) within 30 days from the initial notice of incompleteness, the application may be rejected by Anne Arundel County.

Who Needs a Permit?

Cellular providers seeking approval to install a Small Wireless Facility (SWF) must apply for a permit here: https://www.smartsiting.com/clients/annearundel

Any proposed placement of a SWF in Anne Arundel County maintained right-of-way requires a specialized permit, as described on this page. 

To determine whether your site is on a County maintained road, check here:

In most cases a building and/or electric permit will be required. You can apply for one here:

If the proposed placement is on a State road or private property, please see below links:

FAQs

  • What is a Small Wireless Facility?
    A SWF, also known as Small Cell Technology, is the infrastructure and equipment that cellular providers will install to meet the growing demand for cell phone, tablet, and other connected devices people will use as part of their everyday lives.
  • Why are Small Wireless Facilities needed?
    The growing use of smart phones and wireless devices have driven the need for technological advances in the telecommunication infrastructure. To address this growing demand for wireless technology, cellular providers propose to increase the capacity of their networks by installing Small Wireless Facilities to reduce data traffic load on the larger cell towers.
  • What is Anne Arundel County’s role in the Small Wireless Facilities program?
    Anne Arundel County will be the "regulator" of the program. The County legislation establishes the regulatory framework for installation of SWF in the County. Many of the specific details related to the aesthetics will be Guide for Technical and Aesthetic Standards and administered by the Department of Public Works, consistent with their authority under Bill 75-19 and Bill 76-19.
  • What documents govern the installation of Small Wireless Facilities?
    Legislation
    County Code
    Design Manual, Highways Design Guide, and Guide for Technical and Aesthetic Standards
  • How will cellular providers seek approval to install Small Wireless Facilities in the County right-of-way?
    A Right-of-Way Agreement is required to place a SWF in the County right-of-way. A Master License Agreement is required if the applicant is attaching a SWF to public infrastructure. Once the Right-of-Way Agreement (required) and Master License Agreement (if applicable) is obtained, all permit application submissions will be made electronically here: http://smartsiting.com/clients/annearundel
  • What is a Right-of-Way Agreement?
    The legislation proposes that no person may construct or operate a SWF within the public right-of-way, or on any structure or support structure in the public right-of-way, without first entering into a fully executed Right-of-Way Agreement with the County. This uniform Right-of-Way Agreement shall include all provisions necessary to ensure the overall interests of public health, safety, and welfare.
  • What is a Master License Agreement?
    The Master License Agreement outlines requirements related to construction and maintenance activities; design, technical, and siting standards for SWFs; and costs associated with such facilities.
  • Will property owners receive notification of a Small Wireless Facility installation?
    Per Bill 76-19, B, I-II, construction of a SWF on Private Property shall require the developer to notify all property owners with lot lines within 250 feet of the proposed system. These property owners will be identified by tax tolls of the County, State, and the Board of Education. Notifications must be sent by certified mail, with return receipt requested, not more than 60 days before applying for the SWF building permit. The building permit application shall include the names and addresses of all notified property owners, a copy of the notification sent, copies of all return receipts, copies of notification envelopes that were returned as undeliverable, and an affidavit that the notification requirements were fulfilled.
  • How can residents research additional information about Small Wireless Facilities?

Fees

Small Wireless Facility Application Fees
New Structure $4,000
Replacement of existing structure $2,100
Colocation $2,000
Minor modification $1,475

*The fees provided shall increase each July 1st based on the consumer price index for all urban consumer (CPI-U) for the previous January.