Municipal Right-of-Way and Telecommunications
This page provides links and examples of policies regarding the authority of local governments in Washington State to regulate the process for telecommunications companies to apply for access to public rights-of-way.
It is part of MRSC's series on Telecommunications.
- Chapter 35.99 RCW – Establishes basic parameters of local government authority
- RCW 35A.21.245 – Applies chapter to code cities
Below are selected examples of local ordinances pertaining to telecommunications facilities in the public right-of-way.
NOTE: Anyone drafting a telecommunications ordinance needs to review the City of Auburn V. Qwest Corporation, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision of April 2001.
- Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Title 19 – Communications Systems and Right-of-Way Use - Provides comprehensive regulations covering all companies that install telecommunications infrastructure in the city
- Bellingham Municipal Code Ch. 13.15 – Utilities and Telecommunications Franchises
- Sec. 13.15.110 – Interference with right-of-way
- Brier Municipal Code Title 4 – Telecommunications
- Gig Harbor Municipal Code Ch. 12.18 – Right-of-Way Use - Master Use Permits and Utility Relocation
- Issaquah Municipal Code Ch. 12.60 – Telecomunications
- Kirkland Municipal Code Title 26 – Right-of-Way - Communications
- Pierce County Code
- Port Angeles Municipal Code Ch. 11.14 – Telecommunications Facilities Within Rights-of-Way (2001). Please note that this ordinance was drafted after the City of Auburn V. Qwest Corporation 9th Circuit federal court ruling.
- Municipal Code Sec. 12.02.015 – Conduit standrs; requires the installation of conduit for telecommunications facilities whenever a new street is constructed, and authorizes the city engineer to prepare standards
- Construction Standards and Specifications Sec. 7 – Trenching, Backfill and Pavement Restoration for Utility Installations in Public Rights-of-Way. The regulations are progressive in providing for installation of empty conduit when ROW work is being done and prohibiting street cuts to roads that are less than ten years old. Facilitate economic development while minimizing future road costs and ROW disruption.
- Prosser Municipal Code Sec. 12.08.030 – Construction permit - Trench cut cost recovery - Fees
- Redmond Master right-of-way use agreement with ATT&T Wireless Services (1996)
- Shoreline Municipal Code Ch. 12.25 – Right-of-Way Franchises
- Spokane Municipal Code Ch. 12.09 – Telecommunications, Cable - Municipal Authorization to Use Right-of-Way
- Tacoma Municipal Code Title 16 – Cable Systems, Open Video Systems, Telecommunications Systems, and Private Communications
- Tumwater Municipal Code Title 11 – Telecommunications and Telecommunications Facilities.
- Zillah Municipal Code Ch. 12.14 – Trench Cut Cost Recovery Fees
- Sacramento, CA
- Federal Communications Commission: Guidelines Regarding Facilities Siting Moratoria (1998). In the late 1990s the wireless telecommunications industry felt that moratoria were being adopted by some cities in various states as a way to delay having to accomodate the installation of wireless antenna facilities in their communities. In response the FCC initiated a process for representative industry and local government groups to develop guidelines for local government moratoria. The guidelines are referred to in RCW 35.99.050. The guidelines are fairly short, and not too onerous.
- Baller Herbst Law Group: A Practical Primer on Pole Attachments (2012) by Jim Baller and Sean Stokes. A review of the relevant considerations and options available to municipal entities to manage the pole attachment process in an innovative and cost-effective manner.
- Telecommunications Franchising and Beyond: Complying with ESSB 6676 (Chapter 83, Laws of 2000), Washington's New Municipal Right-of-Way Telecommunications Act (2001), by Timothy X. Sullivan, City Attorney of University Place, 2001