A plan to mitigate the visual impacts of cell towers and mobile phone base stations in Sedona

The city has drafted a plan designed to mitigate the impacts of cell phone towers and base stations by giving wireless companies an incentive to follow our guidelines on where these structures are built and what they look like. The city anticipates that it will receive more applications to build these structures in Sedona in the future as the need for connectivity increases to support business growth and residential demand. 

  • Federal law does not allow the city to prohibit installation of these towers. The goal of the plan is to control -- as much as possible -- where structures may be placed and how they are disguised from view.   
  • It is predicted there will be more and more demand for improved wireless connectivity. The plan is designed to ensure that we get improved service while also protecting Sedona's visual beauty and neighborhood views.

To learn more about the plan watch the introductory video below, or read this information sheet to help answer some of the common questions that have been asked.

Planning and Zoning Commission meetings

The Planning and Zoning Commission had four meetings on this topic.  

Most recently, staff brought an updated ordinance and master plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission on November 7, 2017.

Regarding the Sedona Wireless Communications Facilities Ordinance, the Planning and Zoning Commission made the recommendation to approve the ordinance. (The ordinance needed to be updated to comply with federal mandates.)
 
Regarding the Wireless Master Plan, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval but also recommended to exclude the following six sites from further consideration:
•M (11 New Castle Lane)
•O (160 Panorama Blvd)
•A1 and A2 (2050 & 2070 Buena Vista Drive)
•P (515 Back O Beyond Road)
•E1 (700 El Camino Road)

 
(Go to page 92 of this document to reference these sites.)

Read the staff report and meeting materials on the November 7th meeting here.

The other three meetings were as follows:

Listen to the audio of these meetings here.

Next steps: Council meetings

These recommendations from the Commission are just that: recommendations and not final decisions. The final decision makers on if this Plan passes and what city-owned properties will be included as potential cell tower sites will be City Council. Council will work through this issue in a work session on December 13th at 3 pm in Council Chambers here at City Hall.

The purpose of a work session is for City Council to review the ordinance and Master Plan proposals and request additional information needed to allow them to act on those proposals. As such, the December 13th meeting is just a work session and no final decisions will be made.

Read the staff report and meeting materials on the December 13th here.

State legislation and how it affects the Plan

The Arizona state legislature passed House Bill 2365 legislation making it easy for towers to be placed in city streets’ rights of way. In other words, city-owned streets that are marked as having rights of way are where towers could be built. Our city streets’ rights of way are typically 50 feet wide and if 24 feet of that is street, that means 13 feet on either side of the street is fair game for wireless towers.

While the legislation makes the master plan less significant since tower companies can now go in city streets’ rights of way, in those cases where tower companies would like to locate outside the right of way of city streets, the Plan would then still be effective for identifying sites for cell phone towers and controlling the aesthetics and height of the towers.

Get updates

To receive emails with updates on the plan and notices for Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council public meetings, fill out the form below. You can ask to be removed from the list at any time and your wishes will be promptly honored.