As tech shifts infrastructure, North St. Paul protects city’s look

New ordinance regulates wireless facility locations


Technology is moving faster than ever, and cities need to constantly adapt to the increase in demand. 

Wireless devices, from smartphones to laptops and tablets, are everywhere and only becoming more common and depended upon. Every device tugs on cell antennas for data, antennas that are typically large and installed high up on water towers. 

In order to service the proliferation of wireless devices, cities have turned to smaller cell antennas that are closer to users on the ground. Minneapolis attached small cell antennas to light poles to accommodate the extra people and devices in town for the Super Bowl, last year. 

The North St. Paul City Council on April 2 passed an ordinance to regulate where such small cell antennas can be installed.

“They would be 50 feet or below,” said North St. Paul City Manager Scott Duddeck. He said the measure is a proactive action to regulate the installation of small wireless antennas without being too prohibitive of the new technology. 

Small cell antennas, which are installed with 5G capabilities, are the “next generation” of technology, said Duddeck, and will likely be installed downtown and in heavily populated areas of North St. Paul. 

The ordinance, said city attorney James Monge, places “reasonable requirements on those small wireless facilities for aesthetic reasons.”


—Solomon Gustavo

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