Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - June 20, 2017
June 20, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #43

Temporary Cessation of Receipt of Certain Right-of-Way Permit Applications


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Anne Morris, Assistant County Attorney, Ext. 3750

Sia Mollanazar, Deputy Director - Public Works, Ext. 7487

Action Requested

Motion to adopt Resolution R-17-074.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statute 125.01 and 337.401

Background Discussion

Manatee County owns and/or controls and manages lands designated as rights-of-way.  Traditionally, governmental rights-of-way have been utilized for, among other uses, the placement of public and private utility systems and structures so as to facilitate the delivery of utility services and maintenance of utility systems.

Manatee County Code  2-28-21 et seq. contains the County's current Rights-of-Way Management Code.  This regulatory structure was revised on March 7, 2017, through Ordinance No. 17-21 relating to right of permitting and wireless communications providers, amending and restating Article II of Chapter 2-28 of the Manatee County Code of Ordinances.

Ordinance 17-21 provided regulation addressing technological changes and advances that resulted in an alternative method of delivery of wireless communications services generally known as "small cell" and "distributed antennae systems" (DAS) which involve the placement of much shorter, but more numerous poles and related infrastructure within the right-of-way, to provide such services to residential and other areas of the County.

On April 28, 2017, the Florida Legislature passed HB 687, amending Florida Statute 337.401, which provides certain criteria and standards for the processing of applications and  permitting of the installation of utility poles and the collection of small wireless facilities and "distributed antennae systems" (DAS) on county or municipality utility poles. HB 687 creates a process by which wireless providers may place certain "small wireless facilities" on , under, within, or adjacent to certain utility poles or wireless support structures within public rights-of-way, except as specified in the bill.  The amendments provided for in HB 687 will go into effect July 1, 2017.

It is undisputed that the County's rights-of-way are a limited resource, already facing crowding in certain areas, and that this vital resource must be properly managed both for current utility needs and for planned or expected future utility expansion, maintenance, and safety needs.

Upon examination of the current County Code in light of the adoption of Florida Legislature HB 687 and its effective implementation date of July 1, 2017, the County's Public Works Staff and County Attorney's Office have found that the current Rights-of-Way Management Code does not sufficiently address this new Florida Legislature HB 687 and that until the Code is revised so as to properly create regulations and standards to address this latest legislature to utilize the County's rights-of-way for the installation of small cell and DAS facilities, the County should not accept right-of-way applications for such uses.

Therefore, a brief (no more than three months) suspension of acceptance of new applications for these kinds of systems is recommended until the County, working with the industry and experts, can develop regulatory changes to present to the Board.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other

Assistant County Attorneys Anne Morris and Pamela D'Agostino have assisted on this matter during the previous update in March 2017.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

If adopted, please provide an executed copy of the resolution to Assistant County Attorney Anne Morris and to the Public Works Deputy Director Sia Mollanazar.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Resolution R-17-074.pdf