Neighborhood Utility Notification Program
Utility companies frequently perform work in city neighborhoods, installing new cable or working on gas, electric, water or sewer lines. Their work takes place in the public right-of-way, an area of land reserved for maintenance or expansion of existing services, which the City of Greenville manages.
What Are Your Rights?
Before a utility company can begin work in the right-of-way, they are required to notify residents and businesses within 500 feet of the upcoming construction activity, in writing, at least 72 hours in advance. The notification must include:
✅ Name of the utility company
✅ Name of the contractor performing the work (if applicable)
✅ 24-hour contact name and phone number for the utility company and the contractor (if applicable)
✅ Project start and end dates
✅ Description of the work to be done
✅ Permit number provided by the City of Greenville
If the work includes more than 500 feet of underground work, the utility company must provide roadside signage, which includes the information above, at each end of the work zone.
Telecommunication companies also perform work in the public right-of-way and are subject to the City’s notification requirements.
A small cell antenna is installed at the top of this street light.
Enhanced 4G and 5G
Enhanced 4G and 5G deployment will require many new antennas throughout the city’s commercial and residential districts. Most of these installations will consist of “small cells,” which are wireless antennas just a few cubic feet in size and commonly mounted on streetlights or utility poles. The City is expecting applications from providers to install new small cells as they seek to enhance their wireless networks.
The City is encouraging telecom companies to provide opportunities for the public to ask questions and obtain information; however, the City must review and process applications consistent with state and federal law.
By law, the City cannot:
- Prohibit personal wireless services outright
- Discriminate between wireless companies
- Deny applications based on radio frequency (RF) emissions or radiation concerns (if federal RF standards are satisfied)
CELL NETWORK OVERVIEW
- Networks are made up of sites serving areas called cells
- The size of each cell varies based on the expected number of calls, data capacity, physical terrain and frequency of operation
- A cell site consists of a supporting structure such as a tower, utility pole, building or street light, one or more antennas and associated transmission and network equipment
SMALL CELL OVERVIEW
- Small cells are wireless antennas often installed on light and utility poles in public rights-of-way
- Regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit local authority to regulate the installation of wireless facilities
- Under FCC rules, design standards must be non-discriminatory and applied to similar infrastructure in the right-of-way
- A bill, which would establish uniform small cell requirements statewide, is pending in the SC General Assembly (similar bills have passed in 25 states)
CITY PERMITTING/REVIEW PROCESS
- Small cells within the right-of-way require a franchise agreement with the City and must receive an encroachment permit from the City’s Engineering Division
- A new tower on private property requires a Special Exception Permit and public hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals
- Section 19-4.3.2(G) of the City’s Land Management Ordinance contains design and review criteria for wireless communications facilities including towers, small cell facilities, co-locations, roof-mounted facilities, etc.
- The design standards are intended to reduce aesthetic impacts downtown, in historic districts and throughout the community
- Facilities in the Central Business District require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Design Review Board Urban Panel
- The City’s review process also includes technical review