PUC approves policy for light fixtures, poles

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday approved a policy for aesthetic requirements for street light fixtures and poles installed in conjunction with small cell wireless equipment.

A Federal Communications Commission order in January required that publication of these aesthetic standards must fall within a certain time frame or a city might lose the ability to impose such standards.

One year ago, the PUC reached an agreement with Verizon to install small cell technology on existing light poles at 10th Street and Highway 15, the Salvation Army Center, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Kwik Trip and on Victoria Street near Fairmont Elementary School. The small cell antennas would help existing towers handle the drastically increasing demand for data coverage.

Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director, anticipates subsequent requests from other providers to install additional small cells in the city, and the adoption of a policy for aesthetic requirements will retain the city’s rights in the future.

The policy will go to the City Council for final approval.