The Hastings City Council Monday adopted an ordinance amending the Hastings Code by adding Article 4, DAS/Small Cell/Wireless Network Facilities in the Public Rights of Way. They also approved a resolution to set administrative and monthly fees and other conditions when issuing a license for requests to install the antennas.
The changes put in place what the city has worked toward for several months; a set of guidelines to control the use of its rights-of-ways when companies come to the city and ask permission to install the systems.
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) is a way of boosting cellular coverage and capacity with the antennas, which have different styles, mounted on new or existing utility poles, street lights and traffic lights in public rights-of-way to deliver more telecommunication services to nearby areas.
A consortium of Metro Council members, including Hastings, along with non-members, contributed funding to retain an attorney to develop guidelines for companies to follow when applying for infrastructure or space to increase high speed internet capability in cities rights-of-way.
The result was a packet with a cover letter, a sample license/franchise, a Metro Act permit and zoning checklist to give companies that apply to use cities rights-of-ways. The city's new rules now cover pole heights, a new ordinance, zoning issues, liability, application, license and monthly fees, co-locations, site plan reviews, performance bonds, safety issues, and site design.
In other business Monday, city staff was asked to identify what a city park is, and whether to designate some other areas parks bringing them under park rules.
Councilman Bill Redman asked if the Thornapple Plaza and Splash Plaza were officially city parks or if they should be named parks. Some city parks are as old as the original platting of the city, some were added and named, like Tyden Park and Fish Hatchery Park, and other recreational areas remain undesignated, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.
Also, Mansfield will work with resident Jim Brown to address a developing problem of bicyclists taking short cuts across private homeowners lawns on Indian Hills Drive when entering and leaving the Bike Park.
And, the council approved amending the budget with numerous changes to accommodate costs for programs already approved by the council and other changes to shift funds in some situations such as less for winter maintenance and more for parks and maintenance by the Department of Public Services.