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 time frames, 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 time frames 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 of Wilmington will accomplish these goals through the review of the Gatekeeping Checklist and Technical Checklist, and field inspections. The Gatekeeping Checklist and Technical Checklist have been created to provide a transparent and consistent basis for permit applications and ensure conformity with the established requirements.

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 small 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 time frames 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 permit applications must meet the timelines established for:

  1. Completeness Determination Period: includes Gatekeeping Review and Initial Technical Review

    1. Notice of Incompleteness or an Approval will be provided within 30 days from date of application submission unless an extension was mutually agreed upon prior to review.

    2. If the application is deemed to be materially incomplete the City of Wilmington may reject the application and provide a written denial of the application.

  2. Supplementary Material Submission Period: Applicant Response/Revisions

    1. The applicant has up to 10 business days* to respond to the City of Wilmington’s Notice of Incompleteness. This may repeat up to three submissions of supplemental material after the first Notice of Incompleteness.

  3. Revised Application Review Period: Small Wireless Permitting Team

    1. The City of Wilmington has up to 10 business days* to respond to the applicant's submission of supplemental material. This may repeat up to three submissions of supplemental material after the first Notice of Incompleteness.

*Times for applicant responses or other actions on application after the Notice of Incompleteness will be tolled in accordance with applicable Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. Therefore, the time spent by the City’s Small Wireless Permitting Team reviewing the application is the only time considered under the 60-day shot clock as outlined by the FCC.

NOTE: If the supplementary material provided by the applicant does not satisfy the City of Wilmington’s completeness requirements (considering the overall application and all supplementary materials submitted) within 30 days from the initial Notice of Incompleteness, 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 a list with the naming of individual files. Once the cover sheet and Application materials are submitted the wireless application completeness review will begin and no further documentation will be accepted for review (unless it is requested by the City). Please note that the City of Wilmington prefers submissions through the FTP site to be .zip files.

Requests 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.


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).

For construction that impact sidewalks or encroachment beyond the building line, see the encroachment permit information in Municode Section 42-217 (Under Additional Resources). Additionally, contact City of Wilmington Transportation Engineer Steven Weber at sweber@WilmingtonDE.gov to submit location and plans for encroachment review.