Marin County has 12 jurisdictions (including the actual County of Marin), which is its own jurisdiction. The “County of Marin” covers all unincorporated parts of Marin that are not state or federally owned. The County of Marin along with Marin’s incorporated cities and towns listed below are ones that have taken action regarding updating their wireless ordinances to include “small cell” elements. Ones that are not listed (Tiburon, Belvedere, Larkspur, Corte Madera and Sausalito) have not taken such action.
County of Marin, California (all unincorporated communities including the San Geronimo Valley, coastal communities and some parts of east Marin, including Sleepy Hollow, parts of Larkspur, Fairfax, Novato and several others)
Draft as of June 21, 2019
- Industrial, commercial or agricultural sites, or sites near public facilities, are preferred locations for the antenna installation
- Residential and mixed-use sites and areas within 1,500 feet of schools and daycare centers are least-preferred locations
- Favors placing antennas on existing street poles or traffic lights, versus new poles or installing new small cell facilities
- Limits antennas to one per pole
- Minimum interval distance of antennas is 1,000 feet
- Aesthetic requirements that aim to disguise/hide equipment
- Prohibits equipment on historic buildings
- Public appeals process, including public hearing
- County of Marin Telecommunications Policy Plan – 1998
After nearly a year of public meetings and intense community process, the Town of Fairfax passed Ordinance No. 833 in July, 2019. Here are some of the ordinance highlights. This ordinance contains some of the strictest provision in the country to protect the local community from new wireless antenna installations, including:
- Prohibitions in residential zones
- Broad interpretation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Independent consultant with maximum latitude for monitoring
- Public notification within 300 feet for application and Eligible Facilities Requests
- Annual re-certification requirements
- Insurance requirements
- Robust exceptions requirements
San Anselmo, California
- Council policy process currently underway
- People living within 300 feet of proposed antenna will be notified
- Town is entitled to employ independent consultant at applicant’s expense to evaluate exceptions
Town of Ross, California
- Modeled after Mill Valley’s Ordinance
- Adopted regulations prohibit facilities in residential and downtown zoning district.
- Facilities proposed in the public right-of-way subject to separate design criteria.
- Limits height and width of facilities to a minimum necessary for property function.
- Maximum height of 24 feet above the height of the existing utility pole and 7 feet above a street light standard.
- Requires equipment to be placed underground.
- Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (PDF)
San Rafael, California
A small group of San Rafael residents worked with Community Development staff from September, 2018, until the passage of a new policy in December, 2018. Effective support was provided at critical public meetings by concerned residents from San Rafael and other Marin municipalities. In order to further strengthen the policy, residents and staff reconvened in 2019 with the objective of passing key amendments by the end of 2020.
- 500-foot setback from residential districts
- Antenna-siting zones described as “Least Preferred” (residential), “Less Preferred,” and Most Preferred”
- 500-foot separation between small cell wireless facilities
- Public notice to those within 500 feet of a proposed device and requires expanded review, among other regulations
Mill Valley, California
- Mill Valley was the first Marin jurisdiction to take action on 5G
- Urgency Ordinance No 18, September 6, 2018
- New or updated facilities prohibited in residential zones. Commercial only.
- Facilities installed on poles in public right of way must be 1,500 feet apart
- Design, noise standards
- Facilities in public right of way that would interfere with future projects / improvements must be relocated
- Promptly remove facilities when no longer needed; replace with smaller facilities as feasible
- Defend and indemnify the City
- Mill Valley, California: Urgency Ordinance No 18, September 6, 2018 (Click to download PDF)
Telecommunications Urgency Ordinance passed 10-8-19
- Location Requirements: Detailed hierarchy of most preferred to least preferred siting of antennas, with residential areas least preferred
- Stringent Application and Permitting Requirements: including radio frequency compliance report, adverse property impacts report, and expedited application processing to comply with 60-day “shot clock”
- Approvals and Appeals by Community Development Director and City Council
- Undergrounding: preferred placement of accessory equipment underground
- Prohibited Support Structures
- Public Notice
- Private Property Owner Must Authorize Installation of Antennas
- Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
- Setbacks from schools (500 feet)
- Planned Actions by summer, 2020: Secure telecom expertise to evaluate proposals, develop draft principles for siting equipment, hold public workshops, draft updated wireless ordinance [timelines possibly delayed because of Covid-19]
- Telecommunications Urgency Ordinance – Small Wireless Facilities (“5G”) – approved 10-8-19
- Staff Report: Telecommunications Urgency Ordinance – Small Wireless Facilities (“5G”) presented at 10-8-19 City Council meeting
- Video of 10-8-19 City Council Meeting
Other Existing Novato Telecommunications Documents:
- Municipal Code Division 19.38 – Wireless Communications Facilities – 2012
- Ordinance 1576 – Amendments to Novato Municipal Code – 2012
- Novato Wireless Communications Facilities Ordinance