Dear Mr. Lott:
In its public meeting of 21 September conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for stand-alone poles to accommodate the expansion of small cell telecommunications infrastructure in Washington, D.C. The Commission endorsed the proposed stand-alone pole design but did not take an action, requesting further clarification regarding the guidelines for the placement of poles within the city’s streetscapes.
In their support for the new stand-alone pole design, which is derived from similar existing streetscape elements, the Commission members emphasized the need for the poles to accommodate the equipment of each telecommunication service provider and to anticipate future technological developments. In their discussion, they raised concerns about the scale of the pole base in the sidewalk and the overall height of the poles for their impact on the high quality of the city’s public space and the pedestrian experience. They also identified an inconsistency within the guidelines, noting that the stated goal of city-wide equity contrasts with the different spacing requirements of small cells poles in special areas, such as historic districts and the Monumental Core. Therefore, they requested that additional information be provided, including renderings illustrating how small cell installations on stand-alone poles and those mounted on existing poles would appear within a range of existing streetscapes, some with limited width, using a minimum spacing that is consistent in all areas of the city.
The Commission recognizes the need for this public infrastructure and appreciates the time and effort put forward in developing the small cell guidelines and the design of the stand-alone pole. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Everett Lott, Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
250 M Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Marcel Acosta, National Capital Planning Commission
Tammy Stidham, National Park Service
Mina Wright, General Services Administration
Anita Cozart, D.C. Office of Planning