The Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Policy was adopted as part of Vision 2001-2020, the City's Comprehensive Plan, by City Council on September 19, 2016. The 2016 update replaces the previous policy that was adopted in 2004. It is anticipated that the zoning ordinance will likely be modified in 2017 to reflect the updated wireless telecommunications policy.
Reason for Updates
The 2016 policy update was necessary due to the proliferation of smart phones and other wireless devices requiring data streaming. Wireless providers must provide more system capacity than ever to meet the demand of their customers, altering the way they evaluate sites and the type of technology used. The City wishes to guide the development of new facilities in a way that achieves the capacity and coverage goals of wireless providers while minimizing the visual impact to the community.
The City asked the Roanoke Valley Allegheny Regional Commission to prepare a background report on industry changes and to look at best practices from other communities. Building on this effort, City staff worked with a consultant specialized in wireless telecommunications to assess changes in technology, federal regulations, and customer demand. The City engaged the public to ensure that all interests are heard and well represented in the final product. The City gathered information from an online survey and held a public input meeting in April 2015 and two drop-in sessions in April 2016. Public input was a crucial component of this policy update.