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

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Wireless Facility Permitting

Updated June 5, 2018

The City of Santa Monica exercises its jurisdiction under state and federal law with regard to siting of wireless facilities in the public right-of-way. Generally, applications to site a wireless facility involve the following steps:

  1. Application
  2. Public Notification
  3. Administrative Review
  4. City Determination
  5. Public Appeals, If Received
  6. Construction, If Approved

Each step is explained in detail in the sections below.

Important Notes:

  1. The progress of an application will only be communicated to the applicant stated in the application. Applicants may not designate authorized representatives to act on their behalf. This is to minimize any possible miscommunication during the permitting process.
  2. The Public Works Department only permits installations of wireless facilities in the public right-of-way. Installations on private buildings and structures are overseen by the City’s Planning and Community Development Department.

Important Documents and Links

The City Council authorized the Public Works Director to publish a Wireless Application Policy and Guidelines (Standards) document to supplement the regulations set forth in Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) chapter 7.70. The Standards may be updated without notice at the discretion of the Director. You are encouraged to regularly check this website for updates to this document.

Provided below are links to other important resources relevant to wireless facility permitting:


An online application must be submitted to the City to install or modify a wireless facility. The City does not accept incomplete applications (SMMC 7.70.030). A complete application includes the items below. All documents must be submitted as PDFs; alternative formats will not be accepted. Every application is reviewed individually. Therefore, the list below shall be construed as minimum requirements, as more information may be needed. City staff reserves the right to waive or require additional information at its sole discretion.

  1. Name, address, phone number, and email of the applicant.
    1. If the proposed installation is pursuant to a Master Small Cell License Agreement (MLA), the applicant must be an authorized representative of the carrier with whom the City executed the MLA. In the event the applicant is not an employee of the carrier, a notarized letter of authorization from the carrier is required.
  2. The carrier on behalf of whom the application is filed, including a point-of-contact at the carrier (name, address, phone number, and email). The point-of-contact must be an employee of the carrier.
  3. A 24-hour emergency contact phone number for any problems or complaints resulting from the attachment, installation, operation, maintenance, or removal of the wireless facility.
  4. Information regarding installation medium. Note that:
    1. Installations on City-owned infrastructure, including streetlight poles and traffic signal poles, require a structural load analysis. The City-issued pole ID must be included on the title sheet of the construction drawings.
    2. Installations on utility poles regulated by the Southern California Joint Pole Committee, must submit site-specific evidence that the applicant is authorized to install the proposed equipment on the non-City-owned infrastructure.
    3. Installations on Southern California Edison (SCE) streetlight poles, which typically require the removal of the existing streetlight pole and installation of a new streetlight pole, must submit:.
    1. SCE Letter of Authorization
    2. A filled-in SCE Streetlight Authorization form
    3. SCE Consent Letter
    4. SCE Disconnect Letter
    5. v. A lighting study for the proposed SCE streetlight replacement. The lighting study must find that the proposed intersection lighting will provide for 0.3 foot-candles average of illumination at all intersection approaches (50 ft upstream of the curb return at the intersection) and 0.5 foot-candles average of illumination within the intersection.
  5. If the installation is proposed on City-owned infrastructure, a Master Small Cell License Agreement (MLA) must be fully executed with the City prior to the application or it will be deemed incomplete. No information is required from the applicant for this, as City staff will verify if an MLA is on file.
  6. Construction Drawings
    1. Must detail the installation. Include plan views, elevations, references to applicable codes, notes, details of equipment to be installed, etc. A note must be included that indicates that the equipment/screening material shall match the color of the installation medium.
    2. For installations on City-owned infrastructure, all wiring and equipment must be screened. No exposed wires or conduits are permitted.
    3. Installations on City-owned infrastructure must include the City-issued pole ID on the title sheet.
    4. The nearest legal address adjacent to the proposed installation must be included on the title sheet. If you are unsure about a site's legal address, visit Santa Monica Map. Contact a staff member if you have trouble locating the legal address.
    5. Photosimulations that show the site—in the built environment—before and after installation must be included. Equipment/screening material must match the color of the installation medium.
    6. All plan sheets must be stamped and signed by a qualified, licensed engineer.
    7. If excavation is proposed, with the exception of grounding rods or setting of new/replacement Edison utility poles, the City of Santa Monica’s Excavation Work in Public Right-of-Way General Notes must be included. Installation of pullboxes or any length of conduit below grade is considered excavation.
    8. The City of Santa Monica’s required notes regarding traffic control, if applicable. Please review the Policy on Temporary Traffic Controls for Activities in the Public Right-of-Way in the City of Santa Monica for guidance.
    9. Meter pedestals and ground-based cabinetry are prohibited in the City of Santa Monica. The City will provide meter denial letters to the appropriate utility company upon request.
    10. Must incorporate any recommendations/requirements included in the electromagnetic/radiofrequency emissions report.
  7. Proof of the applicant’s right to occupy the public right-of-way, such as a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or Wireless Identification Registration number.
  8. Narrative justification regarding why this specific installation is necessary. This letter must be site-specific. Maps and other figures may accompany the justification.
  9. Information of the contractor that will be performing the installation.
    1. Failing to provide contractor information at the time of application submittal constitutes an incomplete application. Submitting a complete application tolls (stops) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review timelines until the applicant provides this information to the City. Notwithstanding the above, the City will agree to review an application under the following conditions:
      1. The applicant shall provide the contractor’s information prior to the City issuing a determination regarding the application.
      2. The applicant and City mutually agree to extend the timelines set forth by the FCC for the City to act on an application as necessary to secure the contractor information, including necessary documentation (Santa Monica Business License, proof of compliance with the City's insurance requirements, and proof of registration with the California Contractors State License Board). This agreement to extend FCC timelines applies only to secure necessary contractor information and documentation.
  10. If in the Coastal Zone, documentation from the California Coastal Commission that either approves the installation/modification or deems that no permit from the Commission is required. The City will not accept applications for which this information is pending from the Commission.
  11. If within 100 ft of a property/area included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of History Places, provide justification as to why the installation should be permitted. The City of Santa Monica generally does not permit installations within 100 ft of properties/areas included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may require submittal of an Environmental Assessment pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.
  12. An electromagnetic/radiofrequency emissions report. If the report prescribes an Environmental Assessment or further evaluation, this documentation must be included as well. Construction documents must incorporate any recommendations/requirements included in this report.
  13. A proposed copy of the public notice that will be sent out for this installation when directed to do so by City staff. Please review the City’s Wireless Public Notice Procedure and Template for guidance.

Pursuant to FCC rules, the City will notify the applicant within 30 days of the date of submittal if the application is complete or requires further information. If more information is required, the applicant must provide the required information within 60 days of being notified by the City or the application will be deemed incomplete and denied without prejudice. Accordingly, a new application must be filed if the applicant desires to continue with the proposed installation (SMMC 7.70.040). Pursuant to FCC rules, the time taken by the applicant to respond to the request for more information will not count toward the time period under which the City must act on an application.

Public Notification

After receiving an application, City staff will direct the applicant to send approved public notices in accordance with SMMC 7.70. The public has 14 days to comment on the proposed installation via US Mail or through the City’s website. These comments will be considered during the review of the application.

Administrative Review

The City will review the application and consider public comments in its review. At this time, corrections to the construction documents (commonly referred to as “redlines”) or other submitted documents may be requested. With the understanding that the FCC shot clock periods continue to run during the review phase, it is important that the applicant respond expeditiously to all requests for information.

City Determination

The City will issue a determination regarding whether the proposed site complies with local, state, and federal laws and rules. It is important that the applicant respond expeditiously to all requests for information. This determination will be provided within the FCC shot clock periods. The determination will be served to the applicant via the email address provided during initial application. Further, in accordance with SMMC 7.70.080 and 7.70.090, the City Determination will be published on the City’s website. This determination will include information regarding how the public may appeal the City Determination.

Public Appeals, If Applicable

Pursuant to SMMC 7.70.090, within 14 days from the date of publishing the City Determination, the public may appeal the City Determination. Pursuant to federal law, the City will not consider appeals based on the environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions. Appeals are accepted via US Mail or the City’s website and must be heard by the City Council. In the event that no appeals are received, this step does not apply.


If no public appeals were received, able to be considered, or successful, City staff will inform the applicant that a Wireless Permit may be pulled at the Public Works Public Counter located in City Hall. The applicant must be the person to pull this permit. Construction may begin in accordance with City requirements, including inspections, once a permit is pulled. 

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