Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - September 13, 2016
REVISED September 13, 2016 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #41

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


Contact and/or Presenter Information
Robert Eschenfelder, Chief Assistant County Attorney, ext. 3750
Sia Mollanazar, Deputy Public Works Director, ext. 7487

Action Requested
Motion to adopt Resolution 16-147

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes 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 has not been revised since its adoption in 2008, a period where wireless communications services were provided to consumers via large cell towers.

Since that time, industry and technological changes and advances have 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, to provide such services to residential and other areas where tower placement is not feasible due to regulatory or other restrictions.

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 recent permitting activity around the State and inquiries within the County, 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 technology and that until the Code is revised so as to properly create regulations and standards to address applications 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 six months) suspension of acceptance of new permit 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
Chief Assistant County Attorney Eschenfelder has assisted with this matter pursuant to CAO Matter No. 2016-558.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
If adopted, please provide an executed copy of the resolution to Chief Assistant County Attorney Robert Eschenfelder and to Public Works Deputy Director Sia Mollanazar.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Right of Way DAS Permit App Suspend Resolution.pdf