Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 22. Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning
12/6/2019

§ 15.2-2316.4. Zoning; small cell facilities.

A. A locality shall not require that a special exception, special use permit, or variance be obtained for any small cell facility installed by a wireless services provider or wireless infrastructure provider on an existing structure, provided that the wireless services provider or wireless infrastructure provider (i) has permission from the owner of the structure to co-locate equipment on that structure and (ii) notifies the locality in which the permitting process occurs.

B. Localities may require administrative review for the issuance of any required zoning permits for the installation of a small cell facility by a wireless services provider or wireless infrastructure provider on an existing structure. Localities shall permit an applicant to submit up to 35 permit requests on a single application. In addition:

1. A locality shall approve or disapprove the application within 60 days of receipt of the complete application. Within 10 days after receipt of an application and a valid electronic mail address for the applicant, the locality shall notify the applicant by electronic mail whether the application is incomplete and specify any missing information; otherwise, the application shall be deemed complete. Any disapproval of the application shall be in writing and accompanied by an explanation for the disapproval. The 60-day period may be extended by the locality in writing for a period not to exceed an additional 30 days. The application shall be deemed approved if the locality fails to act within the initial 60 days or an extended 30-day period.

2. A locality may prescribe and charge a reasonable fee for processing the application not to exceed:

a. $100 each for up to five small cell facilities on a permit application; and

b. $50 for each additional small cell facility on a permit application.

3. Approval for a permit shall not be unreasonably conditioned, withheld, or delayed.

4. The locality may disapprove a proposed location or installation of a small cell facility only for the following reasons:

a. Material potential interference with other pre-existing communications facilities or with future communications facilities that have already been designed and planned for a specific location or that have been reserved for future public safety communications facilities;

b. The public safety or other critical public service needs;

c. Only in the case of an installation on or in publicly owned or publicly controlled property, excluding privately owned structures where the applicant has an agreement for attachment to the structure, aesthetic impact or the absence of all required approvals from all departments, authorities, and agencies with jurisdiction over such property; or

d. Conflict with an applicable local ordinance adopted pursuant to § 15.2-2306, or pursuant to local charter on a historic property that is not eligible for the review process established under 54 U.S.C. § 306108.

5. Nothing shall prohibit an applicant from voluntarily submitting, and the locality from accepting, any conditions that otherwise address potential visual or aesthetic effects resulting from the placement of small cell facilities.

6. Nothing in this section shall preclude a locality from adopting reasonable rules with respect to the removal of abandoned wireless support structures or wireless facilities.

C. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, the installation, placement, maintenance, or replacement of micro-wireless facilities that are suspended on cables or lines that are strung between existing utility poles in compliance with national safety codes shall be exempt from locality-imposed permitting requirements and fees.

2017, c. 835.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.