A Wireless Telecommunications Master Plan must be fluid and capable of evolving to accommodate additional carriers, services, (i.e., wireless internet, a commodity that was not envisioned when Telecommunications Act of 1996 was written and is the next major impending technology), as well as population growth and future local infrastructure development.
The Master Plan is more than a set of prepackaged guidelines for wireless development; rather it is a functional representation of the community’s physical space and demonstrates existing and potential wireless facilities. With a Master Plan, the community will know how and where future telecommunications infrastructure deployments will occur, rather than reacting to demands from multiple service providers or tower owners.
The Master Plan, as enabled by the Ordinance, lessens the burden on staff by streamlining the application process for those applicants who develop in accordance to the Ordinance and Master Plan, as well as shifting the technical review from staff to a third party who is certified in those disciplines necessary to conduct and certify such reviews.
The Master Plan combines land-use planning strategies used in public policy with industry-accepted radio frequency engineering standards to create an illustrative planning tool that complements the Development Ordinance. The first step is to identify existing tower locations and their corresponding signal coverage conditions. Second, compare this information to the locations of public-owned land and existing public policy; followed by a series of evaluations founded on land use principles and engineering practices. The plan offers strategies to reduce tower infrastructure by improving efforts to “merge” wireless deployments from various service providers, thereby minimizing tower proliferation by increasing shared sites.
For more information on Wireless Telecommunications Master Plan for your community, please see CityScape Consultants, an organization that consults for municipalities.