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Main Engineering Office
1437 4th Street, Ste. 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 458-8721
Fax: (310) 393-4425

Permit Center
1685 Main Street, Rm. 113
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 458-8737

Mon – Thurs, 8 AM to 5 PM
Alternating Fridays, 8 AM to 5 PM
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Wireless in Santa Monica

Wireless Communications Facilities exist throughout the City of Santa Monica to provide our residents, businesses, and visitors with fast, reliable wireless service. A Wireless Communications Facility is any facility established for the purpose of providing wireless transmission of voice, data, images or other information, including, but not limited to, cellular telephone service, personal communications service, and paging service. A Wireless Communications Facility can consist of one or more antennas and accessory equipment. (SMMC 7.70.020(aa)). 


In July 2016, the City adopted SMMC section 7.70 Public Right-of-Way Wireless Communications Facilities in order to protect and preserve the health and aesthetic integrity of our neighborhoods. Significantly, the ordinance requires that new Wireless Communications Facilities in the public right-of-way be subject to City review and approval. The City works extensively with wireless carriers and their partners to review Wireless Communications Facility design proposals to ensure that they are appropriately camouflaged and do not otherwise cause unnecessary visual impacts on neighborhoods. Since part of the City is included within the Coastal Zone of the California Coastal Commission, installations in these areas are referred to the Commission for their review and approval in addition to City approval. 

Notwithstanding local ordinances, the City must operate within the limitations set forth under federal and state law. Title 47 US Code section 332(c)(7) provides local zoning authority for municipalities like Santa Monica but sets specific limitations on that authority. Significantly, the City "shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services." (47 USC sec 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(II)). The City must also act on any request "to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities within a reasonable period of time after the request is duly filed" with the City (47 USC sec 332(c)(7)(B)(ii)). In its Declaratory Ruling released on November 18, 2009 (FCC 09-99), the FCC clarified what constitutes a "reasonable period of time." Specifically, the City has 90 days to act on collocation applications (i.e., applications to install new wireless equipment on a facility where wireless equipment already exists) and 150 days to act on siting applications other than collocations (i.e., new wireless facility installations where none previously existed). Further, the City must respond within the first 30 days of application as to whether or not the application is complete. Stated another way, for a new siting application, the City has a total of 150 days to conduct its review, request corrections, collect public comment, schedule and hear appeals from the public, and issue a determination. Pursuant to Title 47 US Code section 332(c)(7)(B)(ii), "[a]ny decision by a State or local government or instrumentality thereof to deny a request to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record."

California Assembly Bill 57 further echoes the rules set forth by the FCC while also prescribing requirements for applicants to notify municipalities when they feel a municipality did not act within a statutory timeframe. It also provides municipalities with legal avenues should they disagree with an applicant's claim.

Updated February 27, 2018
City of Santa Monica © 2018

1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-8411 · TTY (310) 917-6626