The city of Aspen is offering a series of in-person workshops and online opportunities for the community to learn more and offer feedback on small cell facilities and the new technology associated with 5G that is inevitably coming to Aspen.
Under federal law, cities have limited power to regulate small cell infrastructure but, to the extent that Aspen can, community input is essential as the city determines how to best design and create policy around this new technology.
Small cell is the next generation of technology for mobile device coverage, using “small cell facilities” that supplement larger cell towers. They are more densely placed and can be located on buildings, poles and other built structures as well as underground.
“Small cell facilities are coming to Aspen; it’s the direction many cities are headed in,” said Justin Forman, civil engineer and small cell project manager. “Although local governments are currently limited in their oversight and regulation of many elements of this new technology, we want as much public input as we can get on the areas within our control, which includes design elements and some location options, plus we want to get a feel for the community’s views around bigger philosophical questions around the infrastructure and its future in Aspen.”
In a news release, the design of the in-person workshops was listed as follows:
An informational presentation offered by city departments working on small cell facilities will be followed by a computerized poll geared toward design options within the city’s control.
Then, small-group breakouts will be conducted, allowing participants to discuss big-picture issues, including health. All feedback will be compiled into a report and sent to the city council.
Session dates are provided below. Sign up atcityofaspen.com/activities. Please note that if sessions don’t fill up, organizers will ask people to transfer to a different session, if possible.
Thursday, Nov. 7: 5:15-6:15 p.m., Aspen Police Department Community Room.
Friday, Nov. 8: 12:30-1:30 p.m., APD Community Room.
Monday, Nov. 11: 12:30-1:30 p.m., APD Community Room.
Tuesday, Nov. 12: Noon-1 p.m., Red Brick Center for the Arts Conference Room.
Tuesday, Nov. 12: 5:15-6:15 p.m., Red Brick conference room.
Wednesday, Nov. 13: Noon-1 p.m., Red Brick conference room.
For those unable to attend an in-person workshop, the public can answer a survey and provide narrative feedback, starting Nov. 6, ataspencommunityvoice.com/smallcell.
The goal of the public process is to respond to an ongoing effort to create new design guidelines in Aspen’s code and to report back to council on the sentiment of the community about their feelings about the quality of their cell coverage and speed of data, the trade-offs involved in improving data speeds and coverage, and the regulatory limitations on Aspen government. Council members also want to hear general concerns from the community about the coming technology.
More on small cell infrastructure is available at cityofaspen.com/smallcell.