Wireless Small Cell Facility Permitting

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Process Details

The City of Wilmington’s Department of Public Works has implemented a process intended to meet the timeframes, and requirements established by Ordinance No. 18-039: An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 42 of the City Code Relating to the Installation of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities in the Public Rights-of-Way. This section of the Wilmington City Code created a mechanism to place qualifying wireless facilities and support structures within the public rights-of-way in the city limits.

Ordinance 18-039 provides the City of Wilmington the ability to review and authorize the attachment of wireless facilities to qualifying poles in the public rights-of-way. Additionally, the City developed aesthetic, technical and safety requirements that are explained in the Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Manual. The City of Wilmington also established processes, checklists, forms, and workflows, to ensure that the timeframes and requirements established in the manual are met. Applicants are encouraged to engage in early active coordination with the City of Wilmington prior to wireless facility permit application submittals to ensure that City policy is satisfied consistently throughout the course of these reviews. Additional details are provided in the Small Wireless Permit FAQs.

The City’s primary objective will be to safeguard the safety of the existing roadway corridor, ensure that public rights-of-way remain available for the variety of acceptable uses, and maintain the character and integrity of the neighborhoods. The City will accomplish this through technical review, permit approval, and field inspection associated with the wireless facility permit applications that are submitted to the City of Wilmington.

Process and Workflow Administration

The City of Wilmington’s Small Cell Coordinator will identify the process needs that must be satisfied in the administration of wireless telecommunication permits for wireless facilities in public rights-of-way. The procedural steps are subject to applicable laws and regulations including design standards and highway engineering manuals in addition to meeting the timeframes and requirements established by the Wilmington City Code.

The City of Wilmington’s Small Cell Coordinator will outline the workflow steps that must be completed using the City’s FTP site which allows external users to submit applications electronically. The wireless telecommunications permits applications must meet the timelines established for:

  • Gatekeeping/completeness determination (up to 30 days for acceptance or rejection)
  • Initial application technical review (60 days, including the completeness review unless an extension is mutually agreed upon)
  • Applicant supplementary material submission duration (10 days)
  • Revised application review (10 days)

NOTE: If, after notice of incompleteness the supplementary material does not satisfy the City of Wilmington’s completeness requirements within 30 days from the initial submission, the application may be rejected by the City of Wilmington.

When submitting wireless permits through the FTP site, attach the Wireless Permit Cover Sheet and include the naming of files. Once the cover sheet is submitted the wireless application completeness review will begin and no further documentation will be reviewed unless it is requested by the City. Please note that the City of Wilmington prefers submissions through the FTP site to be .zip files.

Request for construction inspection and project acceptance will be completed through contact with the City of Wilmington’s Small Cell Coordinator or the Small Cell Coordinator’s designee.

The City of Wilmington has implemented checklists for the completeness and technical reviews to provide a transparent and consistent basis for permit applications to be assessed for completeness and conformity with the established requirements.


For construction that impacts Public Tree Protection Zones, see the Public Trees section of the Department of Public Works Submission Guidelines and Checklist (under Additional Resources).

For construction that impacts Street Lights, please see the Street Lighting System section of the Department of Public Works Submission Guidelines and Checklist (under Additional Resources).