Cellular antennas on special district property: The opportunity and the risk

You licensed your special-district property to wireless communications companies that installed antennas and other communication facilities. You had the space. They were willing to pay for it. It just made sense. Didn't it?

Now you're not sure. The operators seem to be on your property too much _ in main corridors, in sensitive areas, everywhere. You pay staff overtime just to give them access. One company went bankrupt and now pays you nothing. Another pays rent that is a fraction of what it pays the special district across town. One surprised you by adding a large, protruding antenna, earning you frequent calls from nearby residents. Another attached a competitor's antenna but paid you nothing more. They all hint that the Federal Communications Commission may limit your authority. You are not in the telecommunications business. It wasn't supposed to be this difficult. The good news: it doesn't have to be. Special districts can license space to wireless communications companies and obtain much-needed revenue while avoiding these headaches. It just requires some basic planning and negotiation up front. Here are six tips that will help you license your special districts space successfully.

* This article was originally published in California Special District magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4, July - August 2013. The magazine is published by the California Special Districts Association. Republished here with permission from the association.

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