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Verizon Small Cell Tower Applications – Update and Modified Timeline

Posted on September 18, 2018


The City has requested additional information from Verizon regarding vaulting (undergrounding of equipment) and other aesthetic information. Verizon required additional time to put this information together and the August 30, 2018 meeting of the Planning Commission was cancelled.

The City and Verizon have set November 8, 2018 as the date for the Planning Commission to hear the commercial small cell tower sites. The City and Verizon have also updated the dates in our agreement regarding the processing of these applications. Under the terms of the agreement, the seven (7) residential applications are still suspended. The agreement outlines the timing for reviewing the commercial applications. The three (3) commercial applications will be reviewed first and are to be heard by the Planning Commission on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The public may also review and comment on these same three commercial applications that are posted on the City website at www.sonomacity.org/small-cell-towers/ as well as participate at the Planning Commission hearing by providing testimony at the hearing. Email communication may be sent to planning@sonomacity.org. Notice of the hearing on the three applications will be published in the Sonoma IT at least 20 days prior to the November 8th meeting and be posted on the City’s web site to notify members of the community of the date, time, and place of the upcoming hearing.

The City has hired a telecommunications consultant to perform a technical evaluation of the three (3) commercial small cell site applications and evaluate the conformity of the designs being proposed to the standards applicable under the Municipal Code, prior to a determination being made on the applications at the Planning Commission hearing. If the residential applications move forward, a similar technical evaluation will be completed and a hearing on the residential applications will also be held. In general, the technical evaluation will assess the need, siting, effects (including visual and noise effects), and operational capacity of the proposed facilities and support equipment. Verizon is responsible under the Municipal Code to reimburse the City for the cost of the technical evaluation.

Commercial Applications (3 applications) – Updated Calendar

  •  November 8, 2018 – Planning Commission hearing on commercial applications
  • TBD – second Planning Commission hearing (if necessary)
  • March 4, 2019 – Deadline for City Council final determination on any appeals

Residential Applications are suspended without further action until a final determination on the commercial applications.

  • March 31, 2019 – Last day for Verizon to provide notice to reinitiate residential applications
  • June 30, 2019 – 90 days after notice by Verizon to reinitiate the applications – Planning Commission makes determination on applications
  • September 30, 2019 – 90 days after Planning Commission determination – City Council makes final determination on any appeals

This updated agreement gives the City of Sonoma additional time to review and consider the applications than would otherwise be allowed under Federal or State law. The agreement results in all of the wireless applications still being subject to the City’s application, review, and hearing process as established under the Municipal Code and retains the City’s local review authority, subject to any restrictions which may be applicable under Federal law. Specifically, Verizon has agreed to not assert the timing requirements under Federal or State law (i.e. shot clock) as long as final determination on the applications is made within the timelines outlined above.

For more information, please follow the City’s web page for the Small Cell Towers.

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