Small Cell Permits

Small Cell Right-of-Way Permits

Effective September 1, 2017, the City of Plano has a new application process for small-cell facilities in the public right-of-way (ROW). This process allows for the installation of small-cell facilities on existing, new, privately-owned and publicly-owned structures (ex: traffic-signal poles and streetlight poles) within the public ROW.

The new process is in accordance with Senate Bill 1004, Chapter 284, enacted by the State of Texas on June 9, 2017.  Small-cell facilities are typically comprised of network nodes, antennas, associated wireless equipment, and transportation facilities.

On December 18, 2018, the City of Plano’s Right of Way Ordinance was updated to comply with new federal regulations, FCC WT Docket No. 17-79.  Please review for updated timelines, fees, and criteria: City of Plano Right-of-Way Ordinance

Engineering is currently updating its permit application and instructions for small cells in the ROW so the website and permit application will be changing in the next several months. This does not impact the requirements set forth in the ROW Ordinance.

Before applying for the permits required for installation of small-cell facilities on new or existing structures within City of Plano public rights-of-way, determine if your project meets the definition of a small-cell facility in the Right-of-Way Ordinance.

If small cell nodes and poles are outside the public ROW, refer to Planning Department’s Small Cell Page, its associated application materials, checklists, and Section 15.200 (Communications Antennas, Amateur and Commercial) of the City of Plano Zoning Ordinance.

If small cell nodes and poles are located in the City’s ROW, see below to help you get started.

The unique identifier for each small cell location is its latitude and longitude (in decimal degrees to the 6th place) so make sure this is used on any plans and forms including the application to reference a location – DO NOT put a street address on the drawings until the City has assigned one to the location. This will be provided prior to City approval.

Before applying for the permits, the network provider (agency) seeking to install small-cell facilities must register with the City of Plano Engineering Department by submitting a registration form (including a list of all approved contractors) and provide a Certificate of Insurance .

The permit will be issued in the name of the network provider (agency) that will own the facilities. An agency representative needs to sign the permit unless a letter of authorization is provided authorizing a contractor to sign on the agency’s behalf).

Application forms have unique auto numbers located in the upper right hand corner. Notate this number and use it when referencing the application.

All application fees paid at time of submittal.  Currently, City of Plano Engineering Dept. only accepts payment in the form of checks.  Applications will be turned-away if payments do not accompany the applications.

If multiple contractors (design, installation, etc) are needed, add a supplemental page with this information.

Each location should include the zoning district designation (can be added on a supplemental page that accompanies application packet). The zoning district designation helps identify whether the proposed installation will be in historic or design districts or other regulated areas.  Obtain zoning district information by contacting the City of Plano Planning Dept. at 972.941.7151. The applicant shall disclose if the facilities will be located in: a design district; historic district; within 300 feet of public art; near a historic site, or a structure or landmark recognized as historic by the city, state or federal government; within a park; within a residential district; or in an area that has underground requirements.

If there is more than one location, all locations on the permit need to be approved (or withdrawn by the applicant) before the permit can be approved.

Please be advised that if a permit includes more than one type of facility, the review and approval time of the type with the longest time frame will apply to the entire permit (e.g. if a permit includes a pole and transport facilities, review will follow the time frame for a pole).

If a third party is involved, make sure to have their approvals turned in with your permit submittal – this includes TxDOT if in their ROW, 3rd party poles, a signed Public Works Service Agreement (PWSA) if collocating on city pole.

If encroaching a lane of traffic during construction, a site specific traffic control plan (TCP) should be submitted. 

Blank applications must be picked up at the Engineering Department, suite 250, City Hall.  Completed applications should be submitted at the same location:

  • One 11x17 hardcopy set & a digital copy on USB/Disc
  • A check for fees made out to the City of Plano
  • Any other appropriate paperwork – letter of authorization, Oncor or TxDOT approvals, etc., as listed in the Ordinance and on our website
  • Designate on the application whether the permit is for network nodes, poles or transport facilities

 Please make sure to vet each location prior to submittal with the criteria set forth in the City’s ROW Ordinance to minimize timelines, review comments and denials - it’s evident whether the Ordinance has been read prior to submittal.  If a location is not viable, that location will be denied.  On a location’s plan, label and call out distances, etc. to clearly show the Ordinance criteria has been met or else this will be asked in comments before it can be approved.  For poles and nodes especially, be sure to include heights and distances so the items are clearly shown to be in compliance with the Ordinance –e.g. callout the height of the pole, distance between back of curb (BOC) to proposed pole and other relevant items like BOC to ROW limit, BOC to sidewalk, proposed pole to sidewalk/tree driplines/driveways/etc since there are distance thresholds in the Ordinance. Make sure to note the proposed color of pole/equipment in drawings. Another example that is commonly overlooked is to label the orientation of any pole-mounted equipment so height clearances can be reviewed (height requirement if pole-mounted equipment faces the street or is above a sidewalk unless an integrated pole).

The plans shall depict and dimension any and all infrastructure proposed to be installed to support the small cell facility, including but not limited to: any equipment located within the ROW, antennas, meters, concealment boxes, grounding equipment, power transfer or cut-off switches, cabinets, vertical cable runs, horizontal fiber runs, and power source locations. Include the cubic feet of antennae, the cubic feet ancillary wireless equipment associated with each facility installation location, and the total cubic feet combined.

Typical items that need to be included for each small cell location plan set are vicinity and street views of the location (both as it is currently and proposed), details regarding applicable items such as the node, node support pole, fiber (considered a transport facility), and any pole-attached equipment.

For anything underground (including the foundation of a new pole), city lines will need to be shown on the drawings to verify there will not be interference.  Notating the method of installation of underground facilities and the depth, etc will need to be shown and if boring and crossing lines 12” or larger, a profile crossing needs to be provided. If there are no lines in the vicinity, there needs to be a callout saying so. Contact Land Records at 972.941.7151 for City as-built drawings regarding water/sewer/storm lines if needed. Please refer to the Ordinance for further detail.

Be aware that power conduit and lines run up to the meter are not permitted or installed under the scope of a small cell permit with the City. The electric provider needs to submit a permit for this portion as they regularly do for providing new power service to their customers since they will be owning and maintaining those lines.

Once the permit is approved, the City will notify the applicant of approved status and the applicant must pick up the permit at the Engineering Department at Municipal Center, 1520 K Ave, Suite 250, Plano, TX 75074.  48 hours prior to start of work, applicant is required to contact City of Plano Public Works at 972.769.4160.  The applicant has 6 months to complete the work from date of approval.

The city collects all monthly and annual fees permitted by Senate Bill 1004, Chapter 284, for small-cell facilities on an annual basis.  All fees will begin to accrue six months after approval of the right-of-way permit.  Small Cell Agencies will receive separate requests for payment of these fees.  Annual fees will not be pro-rated or delayed; for example, permit holders incurring fees for the first time in August of any particular year will be charged the same annual fee as those incurring fees for the first time in March.

City of Plano Engineering Dept.1520 K Avenue, Suite 250, Plano TX 75074, Voice: 972.941.7152
Walk-In Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8 am - 5 pm, payments accepted Mon. - Fri., 8 am - 4 pm