CFA 16/MAY/19-6


throughout the city
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Department of Transportation
Small cell infrastructure in public space
Guidelines for the installation of low-power antennas for cellular and data communication
Review Type


Dear Mr. Marootian:

In its meeting of 16 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed guidelines addressing the installation of small cell telecommunications infrastructure throughout the District of Columbia. The Commission continued to endorse a programmatic approach for the review of applications resulting from this initiative but did not take an action on the proposal, providing the following comments to assist in the completion of the guidelines.

The Commission members commended the progress in developing the guidelines, expressing strong support for the further restrictions proposed for the spacing and number of small cell installations. However, they said that additional documentation would be necessary to adequately evaluate the aesthetic impact of installations as determined by the planning criteria set forth in the guidelines; this documentation would also help address the important comments provided by the public. The Commission members therefore reiterated their previous request for the development of three-dimensional, parametric design drawings to test the guidelines, suggesting the selection of roughly a dozen prototypical blocks of varying widths, lengths, and composition within diverse mixed-use and residential areas, including areas of high federal interest such as the Monumental Core and the Old Georgetown historic district. They also requested drawings of typical installations that accurately illustrate the allowable equipment and pole configurations. The Commission members emphasized that as the guideline and design development process continues, the role of the government should be to advocate for the public interest, rather than merely negotiating a balance between the public interest and the demands of private companies.

The Commission anticipates the continued review of the guidelines, as well as designs for the cabinetry and standalone poles that are part of this major public infrastructure project. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Jeff Marootian, Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003

cc: Marcel Acosta, National Capital Planning Commission
Peter May, National Park Service
Mina Wright, General Services Administration
Andrew Trueblood, D.C. Office of Planning