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Wireless Communication Facilities FAQs
City of Walnut
Wireless Communication Facilities
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main type of wireless communication facility operating in the City of Walnut and what does it do?


Pole and building mounted antenna sites provides the largest area of coverage within a mobile network. Its antennas can be mounted on ground-based masts, rooftops or other structures and must be high enough to avoid obstruction. These facilities provide radio coverage over varying distances, depending on the frequency used, the number of calls and the physical terrain.

The most common cellular sites in past and present applications and installations are referred to as “macro” cell sites, which include antenna facilities on poles (hidden or not) and on buildings. A single directional antenna can typically provide wireless communication service to an area encompassing a ½-mile radius (a coverage “ring”), though that area may be reduced by topography or other factors. Coverage rings are established with a slight overlap to avoid coverage gaps. Antennas are generally two to four feet tall placed on a pole (monopole, light pole, flagpole, inside a steeple, or faux tree, etc.) or mounted on the side or top of a building. Coaxial cable and service equipment is typically located at the pole’s base, within a fenced enclosure or underground vault.

Are there an extensive number of cell site applications in process or expected in the near future?

Wireless providers are ramping up to address two primary concerns: capacity (particularly for data) and speed (3G and 4G). The extent of data demand for smart phones and tablets is rapidly diminishing the capacity of the wireless system, so most carriers are expanding to increase their ability to provide data services. Walnut has unique coverage capacity needs due to its education-related population, home based businesses, commercial users, and the general high level of “tech” sophistication in the community. The 4G and other speed upgrades also demanded by customers are further driving requests for new or upgraded installations. On average, the City of Walnut receives approximately 3-4 cell-site related applications per year.

What criteria are set forth in the City’s Municipal Code related to wireless communications facilities?

Walnut Municipal Code Chapter 25 (Antennas and Communication Facilities) sets forth regulations for wireless communications facilities in Walnut. The code specifies that wireless facilities should blend with existing surroundings and meet all guidelines set forth within the chapter. There are also requirements for the associated equipment cabinets and enclosures and for removal of abandoned equipment.

What review processes are required for wireless communication facilities and which departments are involved?

Walnut Municipal Code Chapter 25 describes the review procedures for planning entitlements required for wireless communication facilities. A Site Plan and Architectural Review approval is required for most facilities. These requests are considered and either approved or denied by the Planning Commission. Subsequently, building plans must also be approved as well as a lease agreement if the facility is located on city property.

What purview does the City have to deny or limit the use of telecommunications facilities?

The City has the ability to regulate aesthetic issues related to telecommunications facilities, including factors such as height and property line setbacks. However, under federal law, a local agency’s decisions cannot have the effect of prohibiting the provision of wireless service or unreasonably discriminating among wireless service providers. If a proposed facility is necessary to eliminate a significant service gap in wireless coverage, and the applicant can demonstrate that the proposed facility is the least intrusive feasible means of reducing the coverage gap, denial of the facility will be considered an effective prohibition. Under federal law, the City may not regulate the placement, construction or modification of wireless communications facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency (RF) emissions, so long as the facilities comply with the FCC regulations concerning such emissions.

Does the City have to allow use of its utility poles and the public right-of-way?

California law permits qualified telephone corporations to install wireless communication facilities within the public right of way (light poles, utility poles, etc.), although the City can adopt reasonable time, place and manner regulations for these installations.

What can the City charge for use of City utility poles or City lands?

The City may charge reasonable rates for the use of City owned utility or light poles and facilities in the public rights-of-way. While rates may be negotiated, they must be competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory. The City may also charge a permit fee for the placement, installation, repair or upgrading of lines poles or antennae. Under California law, these fees may not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged.

Who can I contact at City Hall if I have more questions?

City of Walnut Community Development Department staff are always available to answer questions or address concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us at City Hall (21201 La Puente Rd. Walnut, CA), via phone (909-595-7543) or email ( HYPERLINK "mailto:tweiner@ci.walnut.ca.us" tweiner@ci.walnut.ca.us).

Also, The Federal Communications Commission contact information is as follows:

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
HYPERLINK "http://www.fcc.gov" www.fcc.gov
1-888-225-5322

Click here to view the updated list of existing and pending Wireless Telecommunication Facilities in Walnut.

Click here to view the updated Wireless Telecommunication Facilities in Walnut.
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