Wireless Telecommunications Policy Update

The Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Policy was adopted as part of Vision 2001-2020, the City's Comprehensive Plan, by City Council on May 20, 2004. This policy formed the basis for the regulation of wireless facilities adopted in the City's Zoning Ordinance in 2005. Both documents have remained largely unchanged since that time.

Reason for Updates

An update of the policy is necessary at this time 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. It is anticipated that the update to the wireless policy will result in changes to the City's zoning ordinance.

The Process

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.  Public input was a crucial component of this policy update. The City wants 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.  The City provided another opportunity for input on  April 7, 2016 with two drop-in sessions in the afternoon and evening.  These efforts culminated in a draft revised wireless telecommunications policy and will likely result in amendments to the Zoning Ordinance later this year. 

The Draft Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Policy is scheduled to be reviewed by Planning Commission at their regularly scheduled meeting, August 8th in Council Chambers at 1:30 pm.  The draft will then be presented to City Council for their consideration on August 15th at their regular meeting in Council Chambers at 7:00 pm.
Current Ordinance
  • Section 36.2-432, Wireless telecommunications facilities and broadcasting towers, Zoning, Code of the City of Roanoke (1979), as amended