Small Cell Infrastructure
Based on federal rules, the City is limited in its ability to to regulate applications for small cell installations from telecommunication companies, however we have established comprehensive design and engineering standards, and an application review process.
Applicants can only propose installation of equipment compliant with the Design Standards.
San Mateo City Council approved revisions to the Design Standards and Application Requirements For Wireless Communications Facilities and amendments to the Fee Schedule for Wireless Permits at a public meeting on July 19, 2021. These changes were required based on revisions to San Mateo Municipal Code (SMMC) Chapter 17.10 "Wireless Communications Facilities in the Public Right-Of-Way" which was approved by San Mateo City Council at its June 7, 2021 meeting.
As of January 2020, there are three companies with Master License Agreements to install small cell facilities on our streetlights. Please reference the small cell map on this page for additional information on applications currently under review.
In 2018, we adopted an ordinance (SMMC 17.10) that established a process for wireless telecommunication sites in the public right-of-way. The ordinance and the corresponding standards were adopted shortly before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted its 2018 order addressing small cell approval procedures. In September 2020, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed most of the FCC’s requirements, including that small cells be approved under reasonable standards within a 60/90-day shot clock period.
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What Does a Small Cell Installation Look Like?
The photos below show a small cell installed at the top of the light and utility poles.
Adopted Ordinance and Design & Engineering Standards
- Adopted Ordinance (Updated June 7, 2021)
- Design & Engineering Standards and Application Requirements PDF (Updated Aug. 9, 2021)
Documents for Telecommunications Applicants
- Application and Checklist Packet (PDF) (Updated Aug. 9, 2021)
Adopted Fee Schedule
- Fee Schedule (Updated July 19, 2021)
- Current wireless facilities fees:
- Wireless Communication Permit Deposit: $4,000
- Master License Agreement Fee: $1,000
- Section 6409 Permit Deposit: $2,500
- License Fee for City Pole: $278.10 per year
Radio Frequency (RF) Hazard Questions
- RF Hazard Questions PDF (Updated July 10, 2018)
Stay informed about upcoming meetings or public hearings by registering for our updates. Staff regularly present at Sustainability and Infrastructure Commission and City Council meetings. See the most recent meetings information below.
- July 12, 2023 - Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- Appeal of Wireless Permit Approval at 732 10th Avenue (WC-2023-000141). Appeal was denied.
- June 16, 2023 - Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- Appeal of Wireless Permit Approval at 1901 Parkwood Dr (WC-2023-000061). Appeal was denied.
- Jan. 18, 2022 - City Council met and approved a master license agreement with Crown Castle, LLC for the use of city-owned poles.
- Oct. 13, 2021 - Sustainability and Infrastructure Committee review of proposed Crown Castle Master License Agreement for Use of City Owned Poles. The goal of the hearing is to provide information to the commission to inform its recommendation to City Council.
- July 19, 2021 - City Council meeting – Revisions to the Design Standards and Application Requirements For Wireless Communications Facilities and amend the fee schedule
- June 7, 2021 - City Council meeting – First Hearing for Approval of revisions to SMMC 17.10 and Design Standards
- Wednesday, March 10, 2021- Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- 5G Wireless Communications Facilities Permit Applications -- Exception from Design Standards
- Wednesday, April 14, 2021- Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- Wireless Communications Facilities in the Public Right-Of-Way -- Update to SMMC 17.10 and Design Standards
- Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 - Modus Neighborhood meeting notice and summary
- Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 - Neighborhood meeting notice and summary
- Sept. 18, 2019 - Neighborhood meeting notice and summary
- July 10, 2019 - Commission: Review of Master License Agreement with AT&T
- May 2, 2019 - Neighborhood meeting notice and summary
- March 18, 2019 - City Council: Review and approve Master License agreement with Verizon
- Feb. 13, 2019 - Commission: Public Hearing to hear protest of City’s approval of telecommunication permit for small cell installation at 201 N. Amphlett Blvd., and consider recommendation to City Council regarding Master License Agreement with Verizon.
- Nov. 14, 2018 - Commission: Review of Appeals (was rescheduled in 2019)
- Oct. 11, 2018 - Neighborhood meeting summary.
- Oct. 10, 2018 - Commission: Review of License Agreement and Alternate Sites for Appeals
- Sept.12, 2018 - Sustainability & Infrastructure Commission
- July 16, 2018 - City Council
- June 18, 2018 - City Council
- May 30, 2018 - Public Works Commission
- May 9, 2018 - Public Works Commission Study Session
- April 11, 2018 - Public Works Commission
- March 14, 2018 - Public Works Commission
- Oct. 11, 2017 - Public Works Commission
If a meeting above does not have a link to its agenda/documents yet, you can check the Public Meetings Calendar to see if those documents have become available.
Small Cells in San Mateo
Modus on behalf of AT&T
Caitlin McLester, Project Manager | Modus, LLC
(510)-914-1357 | modusllc.com
Modus on behalf of Verizon
Joanna Wang, Government Affairs Manager
Permitting Manager | Michael.Cintron@crowncastle.com
Office: (925) 701-7191
City of San Mateo Project Contact
City of San Mateo
Ryan Brunmeier, Assistant Engineer