Small Cell Infrastructure Design Guidelines

The City of Virginia Beach Planning and Community Development has developed design guidelines​ for Small Cell Infrastructure in the City of Virginia Beach. The purpose of these guidelines is to establish general standards, consistent with all applicable state and federal laws, for the design, aesthetics, installation, placement, and co-location of small cell infrastructure in the City of Virginia Beach.

​​​​​​What is Small Cell Infrastructure?

Small Cell Infrastructure consists of smaller poles, footprints, antennas and associated equipment than macro cell towers, which have been the prevailing technology behind the wireless network for decades. 5G (5th generation) wireless systems will be deployed via small cell infrastructure.

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Macro Tower vs. Small Cell Tower

Why are Design Guidelines needed?

Small cell wireless antennas, at the present time, have a range of approximately 400-500 feet which requires more numerous and denser implementation in order to meet coverage and capacity demands. The Federal Communications Commission and Virginia General Assembly have both enacted rulings that significantly limits local management of small wireless infrastructure deployment and associated fees for the use of rights-of-way and public property. The City is experiencing a high volume of permit applications by wireless providers and their affiliates for small cell infrastructure installations. The goals of the design guidelines are to:

  • Ensure that small cell infrastructure will harmoniously blend in the existing environment and add value to the surrounding context to the greatest extent possible;
  • Enhance the capability of wireless service providers to deploy small cell technology safely, effectively, and efficiently for residents, ​businesses, and visitors to benefit from advanced wireless service ability; and                                                                                                        
  • Comply with all applicable state and federal laws.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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The City of Virginia Beach Small Cell Infrastructure Design Guidelines strongly encourage co-locating small cell infrastructure on existing structures, such as street lights and police camera poles, rather than erecting a new structure. If a new structure is erected, the Design Guidelines strongly encourage incorporating meters and equipment cabinets into the base of the pole, rather than erecting a separate meter cabinet nearby.

If you have a question or concern about a tower, please see the contact information on this page. Each pole should have a sign attached identifying the owner. If you can’t locate the tag, you can give Permits & Inspections a call at 757-385-4211, ext. 3, provide the nearest address, and they can look up who owns the equipment on the pole.

Contact Information

Small Cell Towers