Cellular Tower Updates

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Small Wireless Facilities

The City Council initiated an update to the City’s Zoning Code to better regulate small wireless telecommunications facilities (“small cells”), in response to recent changes in Federal regulations that limit the City’s local control over small cell permitting. In August, staff provided an update on the Small Cell Ordinance to City Council. To view the report, click here.

 Upcoming/Recent public meetings related to the Small Cell Ordinance:

  • City Council Public Hearing

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 100 Avenida Presidio, San Clemente, CA 92672. The City Council will vote on the draft Zoning Amendment. The meeting agenda and agenda packet will be posted to the City website once available.

  • Planning Commission Public Hearing

A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 100 Avenida Presidio, San Clemente, CA 92672. The Planning Commission will vote on a recommendation on the draft Ordinance to City Council. The meeting agenda and agenda packet are available on the City's website here and here. Written public comments received by staff can be reviewed here.  

  • Planning Commission Study Session

A study session was held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss three key provisions of the Small Cell Ordinance. The agenda can be found here and commissioner packet can be found here. Maps of various separation requirements (i.e. from residences and schools) that were reviewed can be found here.

  • Small Cell Wireless Facilities Workshop

Presentations were made over key elements of the draft Ordinance and Design Standards at a Planning Commission Study Session on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.  To view the workshop agenda, click here. For video of the workshop, click here. For presentations, click the following links: staff, Lee Afflerbach, Mike Pettus.

  • Design Review Subcommittee Meeting

The Design Review Subcommittee reviewed the Draft Design and Development Standards for Small Cells on Wednesday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m. The standards will be incorporated into the Small Cell Ordinance. For the DRSC agenda, click here (LINK). For the staff report, click here (LINK)

  • Planning Commission Study Session

 A Planning Commission Study Session is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 6 p.m. to be held at the Council Chambers, 100 Avenida Presidio, San Clemente, CA 92672 to provide an overview of state and federal regulations that limit the City’s discretion over small wireless telecommunications facilities (“small cells”) and new regulations that necessitate modification to the City review of small cell applications. For the Study Session report, click here (LINK). For the presentation, click here (LINK)

Draft Ordinance Available for Review:

The proposed ordinance and supporting documents are available for public review and comment. Please click here (LINK) to view or download the documents. Questions or comments can be directed to Associate Planner, Katie Crockett at

Current City Regulations Related to Wireless Telecommunications Facilities:

The City requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) or City Antenna Permit for wireless telecommunications facilities depending on where they are located and how the facility is designed. These regulations can be found in Zoning Code Section 17.28.240 (Public Utilities) and Section 17.28.070 (Antennas on City Property). Additionally, the City’s Wireless Master Plan can be found here [link to Wireless Master Plan]. The City is planning an update to the Wireless Master Plan in the near future.”

Other Regulations Applicable to Wireless Telecommunications Facilities:

The Communications Act of 1934 as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (“The Act”) governs local authority over decisions regarding the placement, construction, and modification of wireless telecommunication facilities. Recently, new federal regulations enacted by the FCC went into effect further limiting local government authority over small cells in particular went into effect. You can find additional information about that FCC order here [LINK]. Many provisions of California State Law, including the Public Utilities Code, are also applicable to the City’s review and regulation of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities. A summary of applicable key provisions of Federal and State law will be provided by the City Attorney’s office at the Planning Commission Study Session on October 16. The presentation will be made available here following the study session.

Small Cell Applications at the City by Status:

AT&T Wireless has submitted a number of applications from small cell facilities. A list of their current status is below. If you have any questions related to these applications, please contact Associate Planner, Katie Crockett, at

Approved by Planning Commission 7/17/19 (No scheduled date of installation – applicants need to pull encroachment permits)

  • CUP 18-529, 802 Avenida Vista Hermosa CS, AT&T DANAP 001 (Site 1)
  • CUP18-533, 791 Avenida Vista Hermosa CS, AT&T MSVJO 013 (Site 2)
  • CUP18-540, 948 Calle Amanacer CS, AT&T MSVJ1 001 (Site 3)
  • CUP 18-541, 2801 Camino Vera Cruz CS, AT&T MSVJ1 002 (Site 4)
  • CUP 18-543, 901 Avenida Vista Hermosa CS, AT&T MSVJ1 004 (Site 5)


Denied by Planning Commission 8/22/19

  • CUP 18-530, 2400 Camino Faro CS, AT&T MSVJO 009 (Site 1)
  • CUP 18-532, 2411 Via Turqueza CS, AT&T MSVJO 012 (Site 2)

Denied by Planning Commission 8/22/19, Appealed to City Council by Applicant,

  • CUP 18-534, 3018 Camino Vera Cruz CS, AT&T MSVJO 014 (Site 3)
  • CUP 18-535, 1101 Calloe Del Cerro CS, AT&T MSVJO 016 (Site 4)

**These applications were tabled at the City Council meeting on November 19, 2019. Any further public hearings regarding CUP 18-534 or CUP 18-535 will be re-noticed**


Incomplete Applications (they’ve applied but the City has informed them of deficiencies they need to address)

  • CUP 18-531, 2770 El Camino Real CS, AT&T MSVJO 010
  • CUP 18-538, 145 Avenida San Luis Rey CS, AT&T MSVJO 022
  • CUP 18-536, 260 W. Escalones CS, AT&T MSVJO 020
  • CUP 18-537, 521 Avenida Victoria CS, AT&T MSVJO 021
  • CUP 18-542, 3 Via Pacifica CS, AT&T MSVJ1 003
  • PLN 19-268, 2671 Calle Frontera CS, AT&T MSVJO 011
  • PLN 19-269, 44 Calle Pastadero CS, AT&T MSVJO 018
  • PLN 19-270, 4631 Avenida Del Presidente CS, AT&T MSVJO 023